31 July 2009

Stir Crazy!

I know this is just a season, that before too long my kids will be big and won't need--or want me--anymore. Well, at least they won't want to admit it. :) This week has been a big challenge, and judging from the way I just snapped at Bitty, I'm about at the end of my rope. Geez. She's gotten into the habit of talking, literally, all of the time. After a week of holding a sick baby and trying to keep her busy and not feeling left out, I'm about out of energy--and patience. I need a shot in the arm, a little morale booster. Who knows, maybe I'll throw them in the car and we'll go get some ice cream or something later. Or maybe I'll leave them with Daddy tonight and sneak out to see a real, live R-rated movie (scandalous, I know!). Or maybe I'm just grumpy because I rushed through my shower while Noble was sleeping and accidentally overdosed on the Victoria's Secret body spray afterwards...that's what I get for not wearing my Happy, right? So I took another shower but the smell is still there...guess it could be worse.

Things aren't bad at all, just a little off. I can do "off" for a couple of days, but 5 in a row is wearing me down. I've got a couple of great ideas for work that I want to explore, but I may just have to wait until next week. Oh, well...it's a season. I'd better enjoy it while it lasts!

Gearing Up

A week from today, I will be done with one of the highlights of the school year--the Preschool Institute. It's a great way to kick off the school year, and I know I'll be SO PUMPED UP about the year to come. I already am, really...we have so much in store this year as we work on evolving our program and empowering our teachers. It's a little overwhelming to think that two weeks from today I'd better be ready to start working with teachers, but we'll cross that bridge soon. Today my first priority is Mommying a sick little guy and making sure his big sister doesn't feel too bored or left out. :)

29 July 2009


I've been blogging for a while now, and as I go through my life I'm usually collecting tidbits that I'll share in a blog post when I have a minute. But for the past couple of weeks I've been STUCK...I've got a ton of ideas but not so much time or umph. I'm hoping that when we get back into the school groove and I have a set schedule things will come a bit easier. We'll see...

24 July 2009

FarmChicks Giveaway--NYC stuff!

I haven't had much time this summer to follow blogs, but one of my favorites is the FarmChicks. They're all about anything vintage, food & family...lots of fun! Check out their NYC giveaway...http://thefarmchicks.typepad.com/farmchicks/2009/07/since-we-couldnt-take-you-with-us.html!

Thanks...I think!

Yesterday the kids and I went into Houston so I could work. At one point, we were in the car and Kayci and I were talking. She started talking about my hair, and about how she thinks "it's the best it's looked in YEARS." Thanks, I think? Then she moved on to my wardrobe, and how I used to wear just "shirts and stuff" but now I wear "cute dresses." It was funny to hear her fumbling a bit, I think she was trying to spare my feelings but finally she said, "you just dress a lot cooler now with your dresses and your hair and your sunglasses and stuff." Thanks again, I think...

22 July 2009

This Week, Last Year

I can't believe it's Wednesday already. This is one of those weeks that's been great, but at the same time, I've been in a bit of a fog. I don't know the best way to describe it.

Here's the thing: a year ago this week, our lives were changing in huge ways. I think of history in terms of days, not always dates, so as we've gone through this week it's like, okay, a year ago today (Monday) we took the kids to Schlitterbahn so we could have one last hurrah before they left for Taiwan. (And we thought THAT was going to be the hardest thing we faced this past year. Ha!) A year ago yesterday, Kayci, Noble and I went into Houston to spend the day with Lynn and go to the circus with her and Hannah. Dad had a procedure scheduled that day (a scope that would stretch his throat, something he'd done several times due to his Parkinson's), and when I got a phone call midday I knew immediately that something was wrong. The doctor could not do the scope, and went out into the waiting room and told Mom that he was sending Dad for a CT scan the next day. When he put his hand on her shoulder, Mom just knew. So we went to the circus that night; James and Mom and I talked about it at length, and decided that we needed to give that to the kids because there was no telling what was coming next. We went, and we did have a great time with Lynn & Hannah. But afterwards, I remember sitting there at Lynn's house thinking, tomorrow our lives are going to change forever. That was a long, long night. The next morning I went with Mom and Dad, and they told us that the results of the CT scan might not be back until the next day. So we went and picked up Kayci and went back to their house for naps. When the phone rang, I didn't want to answer it because I knew. The doctor wanted to see Dad, immediately. So we dropped the kids off at KinderCare on our way to the doctor's office and went, knowing what we were going to hear. And that still doesn't prepare you for hearing, it's cancer. The rest of that day is a bit of a blur. I remember talking to my brothers quite a bit, but I couldn't really tell you what we talked about. James came in right after work, but I don't really know what, if anything, we did that evening. The next day we went to the oncologist for the first time, and he explained what was going on and what the odds were, what the treatment was, etc. It was another long day but it passed in a blur. The next day, Friday, was Mom's birthday. We went out and bought new living room furniture for them and Dad wanted to go to James Avery to buy her birthday gift. It wasn't a very fun birthday for Mom, needless to say, but it was nice to have the distraction of redecorating their living room. And finally, the next day, Saturday, we had lunch with Mom, Dad and Ronny's family as planned to say goodbye before they left for Taiwan. That's Ronny's story to tell, but I feel comfortable speaking for the rest of us when I say that I'm glad they went--Dad wanted that more than anything. I was glad when they came home early, too, but I'm so glad they got to go and have that opportunity as a family. It was bittersweet, to say the least.

So that's where my head is...in this week, last year. Now it's "that week" again, and we'll go back into Houston for Mom's birthday and the circus this weekend. I don't know what either will be like, but I know that we'll end up having a good time, because we have to. Like it or not, life goes on. Easy or hard, life goes on. And we can't do anything less than honor the fact that each day is a gift and should be treated as such. As hard as it seems some days, we have to just live in the moment and make sure to keep the first things first (for us, that's faith, family and friends...although we need to work on getting back into a regular church routine). Like all things in life, we have to strike a balance between living in the moment and being good stewards of our gifts and planning for tomorrow. That's one thing that has been such a shock since Dad died, that we can make plans again. I hate to admit that it was a relief, in a lot of ways, to be able to plan to go out of town, etc. That's worn off since then, but there's still a bit of wonder when I think that we can make plans and be reasonably assured that we'll keep them. There's no more, I plan to be there, but...which was a heck of a way to work last year, let me tell ya. But now I'm babbling.

I thought if I sat down and let it out, it would let go of me and I could get to work. Not yet, but it'll come. I wouldn't trade a minute or a single experience this past year, as I've learned and grown from it all. But to look back at this week last year and remember each step of the process of our lives changing...it's so, so awesome (in the big way, not the cool way) to see where we are today compared to where we were a year ago. And here's where I get frustrated with my selfishness: Dad is the one who suffered, Dad is the one who was sick, Dad is the one who died. Mom is the one who stood by his side every step of the way, suffered alongside him, and lost her husband. But I keep saying "we." I feel guilty for being so selfish. So many of my friends have lost parents, spouses, siblings, loved ones...even children. Our grief--my grief--is no bigger or more important than any of those. I hate that I can't let it go and move on. Not enough to go to counseling, so don't even say it, but enough that I know that I need to get out from under it and get on with it.

So here's the first step...I'm going to get to work. I told Kayci she can watch one movie while I work (or blog for 45 minutes, whatever) and then she and I are going to put together her San Antonio scrapbook. I'm not going to dwell on what we were doing a year ago...I'm going to leave it here. And after lunch, I'll work some more while she reads. And then we'll get Nobley and enjoy James' first night off this week (that overtime check is going to be great for back-to-school clothes!)...and I'll be grateful for the little things, like Noble's infatuation with Spot the fish and Kayci's habit of reading every single word...everywhere...aloud. I'll be grateful for being able to have dinner together as a family, and for the fresh food we'll eat. :) (I love summer.) And I'm grateful, right now, for my job(s) and the amazing opportunities before me right now...and I'll keep on praying for balance between that and my family life. And I'm grateful for a clean house and happy kids. And a great sundress today. Alrighty, enough already--I'm back to work...

21 July 2009

Dirty Little Secret

Mornings have been kind of weird since James has to be at work and I don't like to take Noble to school until 8:30 (when the 2nd teacher arrives...I know, I know...). Anyway, it's been hard to fit in the little things like, oh, breakfast and a shower for Mommy. It is EXCELLENT play time, though, I have to say...it's a nice big chunk of time when Noble plays really hard, all over the house. But back to the dirty little secret...

The kids and I spent some time at Mom's earlier this summer so I could do some work in Houston. One of the things that amazed me was that every morning, Noble would stop whatever he was doing and run to the TV when Mickey Mouse came on. After like the 3rd day, I started paying attention so I could turn on the TV at that time and buy myself some time to work or shower.

One morning a couple of weeks ago, I was particularly desperate to get a shower and get Noble to school on time, and I remembered that we have a sample DVD of "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse," so I pulled it out and plugged it in. Sure enough, same thing...20 minutes of a fairly contained Noble. So now, on the days that Noble goes to school I have a dirty little secret--I turn on the TV.

Hey, I'm not proud. But I'm also not dirty, so win-win, right? :)

20 July 2009

It came, it really came!

Motivation, that is! I knew if I psyched myself out by giving myself PERMISSION to be a slug today, I'd get off my a@# and get something done. Sure enough, it worked...before this had a chance to even post on Facebook, I'd gotten through what I NEEDED to do today, and now I'm very happy to say that my house not only looks clean, it IS clean...deep down, smells clean, eat off the baseboards and floors clean. I even cleaned our cabinet fronts (always a battle in this dusty old house!) and attacked the Noble handprints in the kitchen & dining room. Sad, a little, about that last one, but I'm sure he'll oblige me and redo them soon. Now the iron is heating for my very last "job" before I truly will allow myself some time to rest before we go pick up Noble and start the 2nd part of our day. Yup, I said the 4 letter word...iron. I just don't do it anymore, that's one of the first things I gave up when #2 was born. And I used to iron t-shirts, dish towels and pillowcases, friends, so that was a LOT to give up. But I did and I haven't looked back. I think my mom has even gotten used to seeing me in crinkled linen, God help her. :)

So now I'm heading into part 2 of today feeling like, okay...bring it on, week--I'm ready for ya. I have a mountain of work to climb this week, but I can't WAIT until I get to the top of it...that's gonna be an awesome feeling! I've also got to keep soul searching and figuring out what my fall is going to look like, if I'm going to take on the other school district or not. I have mixed feelings about it...but that's another day. Today, I'm celebrating the fact that my house is clean, my daughter is happy (I've armed her with a spray bottle of water; she was in the bathroom trying out some new hairstyles in the mirror), and we've had a great day. It's not over yet, which is even better. I love days like this when we have a good mix of together-time (me & Kayci, it's a given when Noble's around that we'll have lots of cuddling & playing time), down time and getting stuff done time.

Now that iron's calling my name...looks like it hasn't forgotten me, after all. Cheers!


I have laundry, housework, and workwork to do...but I'm seriously, hopelessly unmotivated. Perhaps I should rest and then think on it...

Kinda feel bad about how hard James is working right now.

Not bad enough to, say, skip the resting, but pretty bad.

Thought writing about it would bring the motivation to get up and get going, but not so much.


18 July 2009

THAT Kid Again

I hate to be redundant but I know that some of you only read my blog via Facebook notes (seriously, friends, there's a whole internet out there...beyond the pages of Facebook). Here's a fun post that I knew you'd enjoy, Ginny--

We have a family blog...http://ipharaon.blogspot.com

...and a third in the works, maybe...what can I say? I like to keep it compartmentalized. I'll let you know about #3 once I get a few essays on there--I've had this idea for years and I think it's time to finally get moving on it. This blog may do it. :)

Neither of us is great about keeping up with Facebook, but we do blog pretty regularly as life throws one-liners our way. :)

17 July 2009

Check, check...

So even though we have 5 kids in the house and are working in plenty of family fun time, I've managed to get TWO jobs completed today--woo hoo! Now if Noble will nap this afternoon and I can spend some time on those PreK Guidelines, even better...but if not, I can live with this. At least I'm not BEHIND going into the weekend...I'll take it!


16 July 2009

Pet Peeve...

...when people ask questions and freak out before they've attempted to help themselves.

Ah, that feels better...

14 July 2009

The Other Side of Me

I love, love, love being a wife and Mommy. I love that Kayci thinks THAT's my job--she tells people I'm a stay-at-home mom, even though Uncle Sam can tell you I still work full-time and bring in a full-time paycheck. :) So that tells me that we're doing something right, that she really believes that she and Noble and Daddy are my #1 priorities...but don't get too warm and fuzzy, because this is the same kid I threatened to send to summer camp if she interrupted my work one more time last Friday (I don't work around her very much, but there are days--like today and tomorrow--where it's inevitable. And she's got a house full of toys and art and books and STUFF...I don't think it's unreasonable to ask her to entertain herself for a while. But I digress...).
Anyway, yesterday I had to go in to Region 4 for a meeting, and it was a good morning. I'm excited about what's coming next there, and being able to write more than I have in a while. Which brings me to my point...I love my life as a Mommy and wife. But like I told a friend of mine yesterday at Region 4, I also love the other part of my life--the work part, the writing part, the stretching and growing and DOING part. I know that this is a season in my life, and in 20 years I'll (hopefully!) have all the time in the world to write and work if I choose. So I embrace every day right now and enjoy this time. And when I wonder "what if..." I had chosen to focus on my career more, "what if" I had more time to work, "what if" I could focus and get a book written...well, then I have to take a step back and look around at this life of mine and be grateful once again.
So that's where I am today. Enjoying where I'm at, but also hopeful about where I might go with my work. Wondering when I'm going to find the time to do the work that needs to be done before school starts...but knowing that it'll work out. I have faith. :)

13 July 2009

Travel Plan

We had an AWESOME weekend in San Antonio--see James' blog entry about it here. I can't top what he wrote (or the pictures he included!), so I won't try. But here's what was on my mind the entire time:

Through the years, we've traveled often. But, until this year, we never traveled on a cash budget (because we didn't live on a budget). Like everything else, we spent until we ran out of money and then pulled out the Discover card. Or, more honestly, probably, we just assumed we'd put vacations, etc. on the Discover card and let Future James and Future Kristi figure out how to pay them off. Well, Past James and Past Kristi can suck it...we're still paying for those vacations. And all the other stuff we thought it would be okay to charge. Just this once. Whatever. So here we are, living on a cash budget, on track to be debt-free here in about 10 months. Really! But I'm constantly in awe of what life costs, and what I've taken for granted over the years.

We did very well with our budget when we went to Kansas a couple of weeks ago, until we got to the auction and I made some impulse purchases (which I don't regret!) that cut into our cushion from James' raise and therefore our cash budget going into our San Antonio weekend. We thought we were fine going in, and we were, but when you're paying cash it just hurts a LOT more to shell out $50 for lunch, $15 for parking, etc. etc. We had a blast and were very frugal, but we still spent--in 2 days--$500. And that WASN'T trips to SeaWorld, Fiesta Texas, etc. or even shopping...that was just hanging out, doing low-rent things and eating. We stayed at a nice hotel, but we had a great rate so that doesn't count. We ate great food, but we didn't go wild and order drinks, desserts, appetizers at every meal. How is it that I have been so out of touch with our spending--and what things cost--all of these years? I feel like I'm waking up from a long winter's nap...and I alternate between being totally pissed at myself for all of the money I've wasted over the years and proud of myself for finally wising up and being fiscally responsible. In the past, we would have done a fair amount of shopping (and buying) this weekend, whether we made a special trip to the outlets or just loaded up at Jake's Place because really, how awesome is that? A whole store full of things we love? And we would have bought souvenirs and other crap to commemorate our trip. Seriously--to San Antonio. Like the pictures and memories aren't enough? But we would have, because that's what we did. And don't get me started on the restaurants...hungry or no, we would have ordered like kings because it's part of what you do on vacation. Blecch. Not anymore, I'm happy to say...this weekend we had a blast but we did it with our eyes wide open. I don't regret a single dime that we saved and spent this weekend, but I couldn't help thinking of all those other families who were using rent $$ to get into the mirror maze, or putting that McDonald's on a credit card. There but for the grace of God...

11 July 2009


At "Jake's Place" (the life is good store) today, a saleslady walked up and made a comment about the watering can I was looking at. I responded, and she looked so familiar, I couldn't help but blurt it out. She must get it all the time--she was like, "Big Brother."

I remembered her face but not her name, so I just looked her up: Jennifer "Nakomis" Dedmon from Season 5.

It's not nearly as cool as the time I met Lawrence Welk, but still...not bad. :)

-- out & about, courtesy of the wonderphone

09 July 2009

That Kid...

Hi, I'm THAT KID. You know, the one who's whining in the grocery cart and reaching for something, anything that I can toss on the floor. Or throw with all my might, just to see if it bounces.

I'm that kid, the one who threw a massive fit in the restaurant last night instead of eating dinner. By the way, lady at the next table, my Mommy was just kidding--she didn't take me outside to beat me. She just felt sorry for the people listening to me scream, including our table. I showed her, though, don't worry--I screamed for the next 30 minutes in the car, too. That'll teach her to try to quiet me down.

It's tough being that kid, but I'm working on it. It keeps Mommy on her toes.

08 July 2009


With all the chaos around here, it's been just about impossible for me to sit down and WORK. I'm happy to report (to myself, that's the beauty of being self-employed) that now that the house looks like our home again, I have been able to buckle down and get caught up on my Region 4 work. In just a few minutes I'm off to Houston to start a new KLC project at Mom's center (probably just the usual summer refresh, should be fun!) and will be able to focus on that for the next 24 hours or so. I have quite a bit of PPCD stuff going on in my head that needs to find its way to a computer in the next week or so, but that's kind of how it is with my writing...I let it all marinate and then when it's done I sit down at the computer and it all pours out. Then after I get caught up with that I've got a course to build for Region 4 and a course to write, and of course my everyday Region 4 stuff.

Ahh, it feels good, for just a moment, to be right where I'm supposed to be, work-wise. Of course, I should already be on the road and I'm still in PJs...but hey, can't turn over all new leaves, all at once. :)

07 July 2009

Secret Agent

This is what I got last night...my sweet friend opted to return them and nicely placed them in this nice envelope. Then her jokester husband slapped the top secret on there--I laughed so hard when she pulled them out of her purse!!

-- out & about, courtesy of the wonderphone

PS on the Bachelorette

I think it shows a lot of class and MORALS that Jillian chose not to ahem...fantasy with the 4 guys. I could go on and on, but work calls. Just had to get that out there for her--good girl!

Bad Boys, Bad Boys

I've never been a girl who digs bad boys. Not that I've been looking for the past oh, 13 years, but still...never been a fan of the bad boys. Watching the Bachelorette this time has been particularly painful, as all of us (except Jillian) figured out the cowboy needed a black hat back at what, the 3rd episode? Listen up, ladies--bad boys are fun to watch on TV. They're fun to fantasize about, if you're into that. But you don't marry them. Trust me--I've seen it with too many friends. You think the bad boy is exciting because you confuse the drama for passion, but after the smoke clears from the wedding, all that's left is d-r-a-m-a. Most of us have enough drama in our day-to-day lives without adding the bad boy mess to it. People don't really change. If you're lucky, you get better as you age and mature...but who you are on the inside doesn't change. Your behavior can change, but YOU don't change. Selfish stays selfish, stupid stays stupid and so on. So that's my beef this morning--bad boys. Nice guys, you rock. Don't let anyone tell you differently.
PS--If you're wondering, I married the nice guy. He's as exciting and fun and passionate as a bad boy, but without the d-r-a-m-a. I think the key is the balance.
PPS--I only have one single friend right now (crap, I think...sorry if I'm wrong) and she's dating a wonderful, wonderful guy. Good call, singleton--he's a keeper. You know who you are...

Apple, I love you...

The stork came yesterday and delivered our 3rd child. Nah, not really--this one was about $400 less than the original, so it really wasn't that bad. :) I have resisted the upgrade and held out for video. When we found out the 3GS would have video, James and I just said, okay. We went last week to buy it (I had called ahead to make sure they had it, but bonehead that I am, I asked about the wrong phone...still not quite sure how that happened!) and ended up paying for it and ordering it. Yesterday I got the e-mail that it was in, so we went buy last night to pick it up. I also decided yesterday, coincidentally, that the AT&T store around 5:00 is its own little Purgatory, so I will not be going there again when everyone's just getting off work. But I digress...long story short, it was worth the wait. The Maps app alone was worth the purchase price. You can keep your GPS--I love, love my iphone Map. The video feature is also sweet--it's got like a mini imovie, you can edit it right there on the screen, which is just crazy cool! So, well, well worth the price of admission. If you, too, have been holding out, I'd say go play with one. OH! And the video? You can e-mail it...or send it to your YouTube account. How awesome is that?? This phone is going to make my teachers so happy--think about all of the cool things I'll be able to post now! And the kids videos for the family...this is going to be so fun!

04 July 2009

At least someone's using the desk...

...now if only he'd work on those curriculum files down below...

It's the climb...

This is Noble's favorite hobby. He climbs on tables, chairs, anything that will get him a foot or two off the ground. Poor DaddyBoy is stressed out over it--he goes around trying to remove anything that Noble will climb on, etc. While I understand that falling off a table could break Noble's arm or leg or worse, at the same time, from a brain-body standpoint, I realize that this is something that Noble NEEDS to do. So now my new project is to find safe ways for Noble to climb. Any ideas, girls?

02 July 2009

Only Me...

I just got an e-mail from my friend who picked up the garage sale stuff today. Guess what she found in the sheets I sent with her?

My favorite ladybug panties.

Awwwwkward. Don't know which is worse--her having to tell me, or possibly hand them to me at Bunko on Monday night.

It's not easy being awesome, let me tell ya.

Woo Hoo!

Progress, folks...

...today my friend came and picked up all of our garage sale stuff--she saved me SO MUCH TIME and effort, and I'm so grateful! Hopefully it'll bring in a few bucks at her next sale so it's time well spent for her. :) Anyway, that capped it--I have officially cleaned off (actually cleaned, thanks to the spilled potted plant) my table in our bedroom and have cleared out EVERYTHING that doesn't belong in there. Sure, I've got stuff stashed away to file, but another couple of hours late one night and that'll go. Dude, I miss my diet pills sometimes--they were bad for me, but so good for productive late nights. :)

Anyway, I'm a happy, happy MommyGirl today. All rooms in the house are presentable, and clean and organized enough that I don't feel like crying or running away anymore. It's a good thing! Now, off to pick up Noble and some friends for another fun evening on the deck...

01 July 2009

My Little Life

I was talking to a friend earlier who lives in Houston, and she'd just had kind of a scary moment at Wal-Mart (you know, when you're walking to/from your car and you feel like someone is watching you and you wonder if they're not going to grab your purse...or worse). Tiredly, she said, "you must love living there. Tell me, do you just love it?" Honestly, yes. I love my little life in this little town. Let me tell you about my little life...

...we live 2-3 minutes from James' job, so there's no commute time. He leaves for work about 5 minutes before he's supposed to be there, and gets home not too long after he gets off work. We literally eat breakfast, lunch and dinner together most days.

...usually, James takes Noble to school and I take Kayci. Summer is a little different, though, so on the days that Noble goes to school Kayci and I drop him off on the way to her swim lessons. After we drop him off, most days we go by Sonic and buy my daily water with lemon from Ms. Nellie. Every morning Ms. Nellie brings me my drink and we have some variation of the same conversation. Kayci thinks it's cool that it's the same every day, and frankly, so do I. When we get to the Aquatic Center, we're usually greeted by the same lady that's greeted us for the past 3 summers, who's also the same lady who handles our reservations for birthday parties and whatnot. The staff at the Aquatic Center is always friendly, and usually familiar. :) We can't go to the pool without seeing at least one family we know, so it's always fun.

...we go to the recycling center about once a week, and Mr. Curtis is always there. The guys who help him out change daily, but he's always the same.

...we don't go to the post office that often, but when we do, we know we're going to see Mr. Monte--and we know that Kayci is going to pick the stamps. It's just the way it is.

...when we get pictures developed, we go visit Ms. Nicki at HEB. She's from Houston, too, and came here to raise her children, who are now grown. She gets a kick out of our kids' pictures, and she's always helpful.

...when we go to WalMart or HEB, we see the same people at the door and visit with the same managers and...you get the picture. We have a couple of friends who work at HEB, so it's nice to visit with them, too. And we know which checkers will give Kayci extra Buddy bucks, which apparently is a big deal. Even though we never redeem the points, but that's another story.

...it's the same with shopping or eating downtown--you build relationships with the people who work at and own the businesses, and in a lot of ways, you depend on each other.

...when you have someone service your AC or plumbing, there's no stress about billing. They know where you live, they'll bill you later. Heck, I had a plumber who didn't even get my NAME before he did $350 worth of work. I thought I was going to have to track him down and force him to take the money!

...the schools are big, but feel small...and they're great schools.

...our neighbors look out for us, and vice versa. Have I mentioned that I love, love retired folks and hope to always have some for neighbors? It's GOOD to have someone minding your business, and I mean that!

...even the guy who pumps my gas (yup, full service at the Shell) is the same every time. I'll admit, though, to wondering if he actually works for the Shell or if dummies like me pay him a buck to pump gas we're perfectly capable of pumping ourselves...but he seems to enjoy visiting and you know I'm a people-pleaser. :)

I could go on and on. Just now, a friend and I were talking on the phone and we decided that they'd come over here for dinner tonight since we were both planning on experimenting with new kinds of burgers (black bean for us, Greek something for them). I don't know that I would have offered a spur-of-the-moment invitation like that before we moved here...life moved at a totally different pace when we lived in Houston, and with James' commute and my work schedule, dinner wasn't ever a sure thing. We sure didn't plan a menu, or worry about eating fresh food. Of course, in fairness, we had a personal chef--my Dad. :) But the point is, I wouldn't have been able to decide last-minute to have friends over for dinner a few years ago. That's not a small town thing as much as it's an attitude thing, and I have to say, I much prefer my attitude now to my attitude a few years ago. I had to be honest with the friend who's coming over--I told her that there are some spots on my dining room floor, and they'll be there when she gets here, too. I just wanted to put that out there in case a not-so-pristine floor was a deal-breaker for her.

There are, of course, things I'd change about my life--it's not perfect, and neither am I. By far. And perfection isn't a goal of mine, either, if you're wondering. I just aim for 'good enough' and hope to hit it most of the time. In a perfect world, I'd spend less time working and working around the house and more time with my family. Or maybe I should spend LESS time with my family and more time working...it seems like I'm always behind! Anyway, life's not perfect. But it's darn good. My house isn't always clean (have you been following along?) and my work's not always done, but my kids are pretty happy and so is my husband. And you know, I'm pretty darn happy, too. It's been a horrible year and a wonderful year, all at the same time. I wouldn't trade what I've learned for anything...it's all about keeping the first things first: faith, family and friends. Living in a small town, living a small life, allows us to do that.

Look out, world...

2 great things to report today...

1. found an app that will allow me to blog on the fly! will make it easy to upload pics, notes from classrooms as i go...will need to figure out if i need special permissions from the district, etc. or how that works...but still...good stuff!

2. today i get my new iphone--with video! woo hoo!!!

Finally, the energy fairy!!

I've been spinning my wheels this summer. While I've totally enjoyed all of the great family time, I have absolutely NOT been productive at all. That's the thing about my consultant work--it's year-round. Which is great, because the first year we lived here in Brenham I took the summer off...and learned rule #1 about working as a consultant: don't work, don't get paid. I mean, I knew that and the numbers worked out on paper--but dang, that was a lonnnnnnnnngggggg summer of sandwiches at home. :) But I digress.

The point is, this summer I've not been productive at all. As much as family time, what's been keeping me from working is the fact that my house has been disorganized, especially (okay, mainly and only) my desk in the office and my bedroom, where my main work table lives. As school ended, I piled my work stuff in front of my work closet to get to "later" and other than a quick clean-up the day of Kayci's slumber party, it's pretty well sat there. As for my bedroom, I had the bright idea that we'd have a garage sale this summer, so when we cleaned out Kayci's room I made piles of garage sale/give to Lynn/go to storage kids stuff. And then it sat there for 3 months and multiplied...sigh. Deciding NOT to have a garage sale was very freeing...as of this morning, I have 1 bag of trash, a box of recyclables, 3 bags to go to the mission, 1 bag to go to a friend who's a size smaller than Kayci, 1 bag of baby stuff for Lynn (she's not expecting...yet!) and 1 bag of Kayci/Noble stuff to store with their keepsakes. As for the toys, they're neatly sorted and stacked in the armoire in the IKEA boxes I bought...hmm. Months ago. Sigh. But the point is, today all I have to do is carry out bags and sort the last bit of Kayci's crap (she's a packrat like her mommy...all of her purses and bags are full of crayons, markers, money, play money, jewelry, lipgloss...) and then I can get to work on my table. Which means that theoretically, tomorrow I can sit at said table as I'm finishing up my Region 4 report...and then I will have accomplished my goals for the week. Heck, the summer! It feels good to finally be on the road to progress. Next stop...receipts!