31 December 2010

Happy New Year!

image:  http://graphicsfairy.blogspot.com/

Fun Gift

2 of James' mascot friends are getting married this weekend, so we made them a fun gift. Sure, he did all the hard work, but I put the stickers on. So there!

And nope, not gonna fix the orientation...it's early and I haven't had coffee.

30 December 2010

It's a Beautiful Day...

Can you hear Bono singing it??

I woke up this morning feeling like myself again.  Although I've totally done Kristi things already, like start 4 different projects and finish only 1, I'm going to take it easy this morning so I don't use up what energy I have before we have to go to Houston later.  (Grandparent Christmas #2 of 4...they're really spread out this year.)  Anyway...I'm so grateful to feel better!  Still have pressure in my ears but I can totally live with that.  Noble and I both have a little bit of a cough hanging on, but nothing like the past week or so.  Hooray!

While I have a list of things I need to do/want to do in my head, I know I need to back up and worry about one thing at a time.  The kids and I definitely need some fresh air--that's at the top of my list!  We have been couch-bound, literally, for a week.  I'm sooooooo tired of kids' TV.  I think they must be, too, as they've turned it off this morning and are playing train instead.  (Fun aside:  this morning they were watching "Sid the Science Kid" and he was thinking about bringing a TV into his room and watching TV all weekend...which of course got vetoed by his parents and then led to a discussion about exercise and healthy choices.  Nobley said, "you can't have TV in your WOOM!"  And Kayci said, "wow--how is he healthy if he wants to watch TV all weekend and eat junk food?"  So even though we've been making like couch potatoes, they kids still GET it.  Phew.  I feel better!)

So...tomorrow is the last day of 2010.  I'm feeling a little conflicted about 2010, but I'll write about that later.  I'm wondering if I'll make a New Year's Resolution this year or not.  I kind of already did through James' 12 Days of Christmas...so I may stick with that.  But it's the time of year when I want to clean up the house, clean out stuff we don't use, organize what's staying...I don't have much to do in the office (we've actually kept it up the whole YEAR...can you believe it??) but my cabinets can use some work.  And there are clothes I need to get rid of, once and for all, and the whole house needs a good cleaning once I put Christmas away.  Oh, I need to put Christmas away.  :)  Lots to do.  Not sure how much will get done in the next few days, but trying not to worry about that.  It'll get done, right?

Are you making a resolution for 2011?  Wanna share?

29 December 2010


So...I got whatever was going around. My main symptom? Inertia. I simply do not feel like moving. Sigh. I'm kind of just kidding about the symptoms--I went to the doctor and if you know me, it takes a lot to get me there for me. Cough, ears, throat; you name it, it's infected. So very bad when I'd rather be getting the house back under control and putting away Christmas. Sigh louder.

Tomorrow is another day...

20 December 2010

Best Birthday Ever!!!

It's been a busy--but great!--few days around here. Mom came up Friday to watch the kids while we had an early birthday date. Now, after a long crazy week, we opted not to sit through the movie we'd planned to see (ehhh reviews) and decided to have a family dinner at our favorite "nicer" restaurant, instead. :). Not what we had planned, but it felt right on Friday. After dinner Grandma and Kayci kicked us out of the house for awhile, so Daddyboy and I enjoyed some Starbucks and time to just walk around and visit. :)

We returned home to fun birthday decorations (they'd obviously been cooking this up all week!) and fell asleep on the couch to "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever." All in all, a great day, and exactly the evening I needed after a crazy week. Here's a peek at their hard work:

And the piece de resistance...

What a fun coincidence--it totally matches one of my gifts from Heather!

Saturday morning was awesome--we woke up at 4 (darn internal clocks!) and watched some TV and a movie before facing the busy day. Perfect! Then it was time for birthday donuts and presents...

OH, my!!! I'm still in shock!!! Turns out the whole time I was trying to win one, my Boy was waiting for this one to ship. How awesome is he?? (big thanks also to Mom & Haitham for contributing to this one!!). I don't have words, yet...so excited...so need some time to take it in. :). Oh, the possibilities!

I also have to mention Rachel and Heather, who each put together fun gifts of my favorite things. Thanks, girls--I was so touched by the time & effort you each put into making me smile!!

After breakfast, we were off to College Station for Katie's graduation. I don't have pictures on my phone, but you can see them on facebook. I am so proud of Katie--I couldn't love her more if I tried. She has turned into an amazing young woman, and I can't say enough about her. Her boyfriend is pretty awesome, too, but no pressure, guys. Much love to Katie (and Johnny!) as you start this new chapter. Can't wait to see what's next for you!

After graduation, we were off to Pflugerville for some baking and candy making! We had fun just hanging out with Ronny's family and Grandma. And Ronny made me the BEST red velvet birthday cake--that alone was worth the trip!!

Thanks to all of you who called and texted and emailed and sent messages on facebook and mailed cards...I definitely felt the love. And it was a fantastic birthday all around--I couldn't imagine a better weekend!

We're home today (until we head to Santa's Wonderland)...just sitting her watching thee kids play and being grateful--for them, for their wonderful Daddy, for my family, for you, friends, and for this blessed life I enjoy. I am so thankful!

15 December 2010

Souper Math

So...I guesstimated that I had 200 servings of soup (100 of each type). My figuring? 100+ people, many of whom would get seconds. Or thirds. :)

So...100+ people ate. And got seconds.

And we had food out the wazoo...EVERYTHING was left over! It was a good thing, since we were able to provide full meals for about TEN needy families. That feels good! I'm baffled, though, at the math...we had almost 100 cups leftover.

Craziness. It was like the loaves and fishes, man...

Soup Kitchen

Today's the annual Staff Appreciation Luncheon at Kayci's school. I decided to do soup this year to simplify a bit...we'll see. Feeding 100+ people is nervewracking...I think I got it right this year, but we'll see. The cool thing is, we have so many awesome volunteers that ALL I have to do is the soup. :)

After hauling two full carts to the car at HEB...

...I went to WalMart to replace our automatic can opener. Today is not the day for the manual opener.

Soup's on!

14 December 2010

Favorite Things

*I was going to post about how I'm feeling...lost, out of sorts, etc. due to a work issue.  But I'm not.  I'm tired of that--aren't you?  So, here we go...

Favorite Things

First, a disclaimer:  it's clip art.  I'm too lazy to get up and take a picture of the sweet sticks in the kitchen.  mmm...sweet sticks.

One of my favorite things about this season--cold weather in general--is peppermint.  I put peppermint in my coffee and hot chocolate...usually I drink a boat load of Candy Cane Lane tea (just not in a tea place this year).  I love, love peppermint.  This year we figured out that if we drop a Bob's Sweet Stick (sugar/peppermint sticks--yum!) into coffee or hot chocolate, it's AWESOME.

Last week we were supposed to load up the kids with pajamas and hot chocolate and go see Christmas lights, but Noble fell asleep before we could get out the door (never, ever happens).  So last night we ran through Starbucks on the way to get Kayci (fun for the whole family!), added our own Sweet Sticks (we'd just happened to restock at the WalMart...I don't always carry them with me, despite how this post sounds), and after gymnastics we drove around and looked at Christmas lights--another one of my favorite things.

On Pecan St., this amazing house had signs that said "tune to 88.1."  So we did--and their lights were timed with the music, like at Disney World!  It was so cool...if you're around, go check it out.  I can't imagine what goes into something like that, but it's impressive.  I'm tempted to go back and put a note in their mailbox thanking them for the show!  :)

There's some randomness, straight from me to you.  Hope your Tuesday's terrific!  (I won't mention that I'm not sure how mine's going to go, or even if I'm driving in today...sigh.  I WILL say that tomorrow is the big PTO luncheon--wish me luck!)

13 December 2010

Dear Today,

You are NOT going to be one of THOSE days.

That is all.



I'll be 36 this week.

That means...for about 6 months now...I've been closer to 40 than 30.


When the &*$@ did I get OLD?

11 December 2010

What I Love About Bitty...

This morning Kayci came in while I was brushing my teeth.

"Guess what! The icicles on the gingerbread house are hard as rocks!"

So I explained that's why we use royal icing...so she asked what makes it royal icing...so I told her I'd look it up.

This is a very normal thing around here. Kayci is so curious to know the WHY behind everything, and that challenges me to learn right along with her. I love that!

And those icicles? Kayci took over the gingerbread house decorating and worked and worked until she figured out how to drizzle and drip just so. I can't even do that!

*btw: royal icing is the traditional fruitcake icing (didn't know that!) which was the traditional wedding cake of royals (got me there, too). :)

10 December 2010


I started this post on Wednesday...but you can see it got a little out of hand.  When I woke up Wednesday morning, I read a friend's blog post wondering how I do what I do.  To that friend, I say:  not well.  :)  Case in point:  Wednesday.  I thought I had about 30 minutes of purchase order work before Noble and I headed in to work.  5 hours later--seriously--I hit the road solo.  That same sweet friend called and when she heard the stress in my voice, she dropped what she was doing and drove in (when you live out in the country and have to come back into town...it's kind of a big deal, so I appreciated it!) to get Noble so he wouldn't have to be in the car for 3 hours (or more, traffic!) for a 2 hour meeting.  How awesome is she?  That made my week...turning in the purchase orders, though, made my MONTH...that work project has been a thorn in my side for the past couple of weeks and has caused much anguish BUT I hope and pray it will pay off in the long run.  So, Wednesday was a stressful day.

Then there was yesterday--we stayed in town all day!  It was great...Noble and I hung out at home (after a fun trip to WalMart to put together a thank you gift for my friend who won't accept $$ or gifts for babysitting, but I knew she couldn't refuse a gift for her boys) and Alex came over for a while.  The boys and I practiced cutting snowflakes, and it turns out, I suck at it.  Alex is OCD like me (and his Mommy!) so it was stressing him out to be cutting on the living room floor and leaving piles of little paper shapes.  That alone was worth the price of admission, just to make a big mess with a kid who hates messes.  He loosened up and we had fun...but alas, crappy snowflakes.  I had visions of these great snowflake garlands we could make.  Sigh.

Today--well, I'm not sure about today yet.  I need to catch up on my reports...instead of, say, blogging, but other than that, I don't have to do anything but enjoy the day with Noble and get pretty for my Boy's work party tonight.  Not too pretty, don't worry.  It's a jeans year.  But my cardi does have a little sparkle, if that counts.  :)  The kids are excited to hang out with Madeline--they LOVE her.  I love having someone who loves my kids come over and hang with them...she's the only non-family, non-friend babysitter we've ever used.  She IS a friend who feels like family, but we met her through Noble's daycare and so that's what I mean.  You get it.

Oh!  And maybe there are a couple of "little" things I need to accomplish today...the annual Staff Appreciation Luncheon is next Wednesday, and I need to buy...um, everything for that.  And figure out when to make the soup, make the soup.  It'll all come together.  More importantly, tomorrow we'll take Reagan on her 13th birthday scavenger hunt, so I have some things to put together for that.  We'll go to Austin first thing tomorrow for that, then bring Reagan home with us.  It'll be fun!  If you're counting, Reagan turned 13 a month ago--this is just the first weekend both families could clear an overnight for the big birthday weekend.  It's a busy time of year!  :)

Hmm...I think that's it.  Did I mention that I feel SO MUCH BETTER after the stress of Wednesday?  I also realized yesterday that I will have 9 days off right before Christmas...really off, no online work, either.  Can you believe it??  What's even better is that my Boy is off, too--and no school for Bitty.  I can't wait!  Well, I can totally wait, because there's a lot of fun December between now and then and I'm not ready for the holidays to be over, yet.

Sigh--I suppose it's time to say goodbye for now and move on to work for a few minutes.  And I need to figure out what to wear today.  Stinkin' weather.  If I don't "see" you again this weekend (it could be crazy, but fun!), have a great one!

08 December 2010

How Does She...

I have a new button on my blog--it's a link to the "how does she..." blog.  Alas, it's not an award...just a useless attempt to win that dang Silhouette machine.  :)

A friend wrote that she reads my blog on the ipad while she's getting ready in the morning--now I feel bad that I didn't write anything today!!  I have to say, doing the whole thankfulness series in November totally got me back in the habit of blogging every day, which I've enjoyed.  I really should NOT be doing this right now as I have work to do (why I'm home and not in district, yet) AND I'm entertaining my poor child with the TV instead of quality Mommy time.  Sigh--some days you just can't do ANY of it well, right?

I do have something to write about today, but it'll have to wait.  I'll answer that question:  how does she?  Chances are, the answer is NOT what you're expecting, sweet friend!

(And thanks, friend, for taking care of my girl today while I work!)

07 December 2010


I stayed up a little later than usual last night--it was free Redbox day and I picked up a DVD I was not willing to pay $$ to see...and I had a lot of work stuff on my mind/plate so just wasn't ready for bed.  :)  SATC2 was okay...pleasant surprise!  Anyway,  my Boy let me sleep in this morning.  I woke up to kisses on the nose from the knuckleheads, which was just awesome.  You know when you wake up and you're not sure what day it is?  When I woke up I knew it was late (6:40--very late for me!) and for a few seconds, I thought it was Saturday.  I was like, ahhhh...then I remembered, it was definitely NOT Saturday.  But it's pretty close--I don't have to work in Houston today, so it feels like a holiday!

The kids and I went to the bakery for breakfast (Daddy had to go to work early, so we needed some motivation and distraction), then to Kayci's school to deliver some gifts, visit the book fair, and do a little work for PTO.  Then, after a quick stop to fill my empty gas tank (!) Noble and I got to come HOME.  I've been piddling with laundry and wrapping some gifts, and he's happily playing Cars.  (Wook, Mommy, happy--fwiends!!!)  I love that kid, and he LOVES days at home.  So maybe it's not a Saturday, and we do have a lot to do today, but for now, it feels pretty great to be here.

Hope you have an ahhhhhhmazing day!

06 December 2010

I don't know where she gets it...

My first year of teaching was...interesting, in more ways than one.  In a parent meeting once, I brought up a student's potty mouth.  His Dad swung around and said, "I don't know where he gets that sh*% from!"  Um, yeah...

So, last night we were getting ready to wrap up our day by opening books (they each open a wrapped Christmas book every night).  I went into the kids' room for something and was just appalled...trash on the floor, Kayci's desk was a mess...so I called her back and made her clean up her desk before she could unwrap a book.  Not a huge deal, but it needed to be done.

I feel so small, now.  When I woke up this morning, I caught sight of MY desk.  Mind you, the laptop has been plugged in by the couch this whole week...my desk is covered with a couple of gifts that need wrapping, a cardigan that needs hanging, stuff to take to work today, receipts to shred...it's the worst I've seen it in months.

Hmm...I wonder where she gets it.  Guess I'll have to apologize for my hypocrisy this morning.  Sigh.

05 December 2010

I blame Lynn...

...for calling & distracting me. When CPS comes to ask me why I a) was drinking a beer and b) spilled said beer while we were decorating the gingerbread house. (it was left over from dinner, okay?)

Oh, and CPS, pay no mind to the carnage. The kids are alright.

And my husband does NOT encourage it. Much.

Brassiere of Doom

It's Sunday morning, and we're hanging out at home (I know, I know, we should go to church since we're actually in town...).  We do have some things to accomplish today before a 1:00 birthday party, so I just took a shower to hopefully start everyone else moving in the direction of dressed and ready to go.  While I was in the shower, I kept hearing a commotion and lots of "to infinity, and beyond!" coming from the kids' room.  (Did I mention that Noble has 2 Buzz Lightyears and his favorite thing to play right now is "I'm Buzz Lightyear...no, I'M Buzz Lightyear!" with Daddy?)  When I got out of the shower, I heard them talking to each other (Buzz and Jessie, that is) about "losing your powers!  Get in there!"  I opened the door to find my 3 kids (the young ones and the Daddyboy one) playing in our curtains--they all looked up, surprised, to see me (hello...it was the shower, not a different city).  

As it turns out, they'd moved into our room to play.  And they were taking turns hiding each other under the...duh, duh, duh...brassiere of doom.  It's apparently a very magical place that strips heroes of their power.

image:  nootka.co.uk

Ahem.  I don't know now if I should wear it, or fear it.

04 December 2010

Wots of Snow!

Last night was the annual Lighted Christmas Parade.  It was a lot of fun to ride on Germania's float (James got to ride with us this year!) and see the kids' reactions.  The parade theme was Polar Express, so they turned the float into a train car.  They mounted a "smoke stack" on the top of James' truck to make the engine and somebody also had the BRILLIANT idea to put a snow machine up there.  It was awesome!  When the snow would come down, Noble would stop waving long enough to grab my face and pull me close to say, "wots and WOTS of snow!!"  He was so cute, sitting and waving the whole time...he loved it.  Kayci had a blast, too...I think parades are old hat to her now, but she chose to ride in the parade instead of watch so she must like it at least a little.  :)

It was such a great night...if you're familiar with the Polar Express music, it's very...majestic, for lack of a better word.  To sit there among the lights and the "snow," watching the expressions on the kids' faces on the street when they saw the snow...it was just priceless.  Going to the bakery afterward with friends, seeing friends, enjoying hot chocolate and just visiting...awesome.  James took some great pictures, so I suspect there will be an ipharaon post later with pics.

Lighted parade:  reason #1,406,807 I love living in a small town.  :)

03 December 2010

The Sweater

Since we were in the big city, we stopped by Old Navy to exchange a shirt and pick up MORE pants (she is growing so tall!!) for Kayci.  Noble fell asleep, so I stayed in the car with him while Daddy and Kayci ran in.

When we got home last night, I opened up the Old Navy bag and pulled out a pink sweater.  It was a...nice pink sweater, but still, a pink sweater.

image:  www.oldnavy.com

James was smiling from ear to ear, until I said, "whaaaat's this?"  Then he quit smiling..."you wanted a pink sweater!"  

Well, no, I didn't...I tried on an ORANGE sweater last week but then didn't buy the dress or shirt that I wanted the old sweater for since they didn't have the orange sweater, so really, I'm good on sweaters.  But it was a nice thought!  

01 December 2010

12 Days

Tomorrow marks 12 days until Christmas vacation, so for each day we put together small gifts (happys, not really gifts) for Kayci's teachers. I'm excited that we were organized enough to do it this year--I'm glad fir my big work deadlines this week because they MADE us get going to get stuff done around here. Silver lining, right? :)

In true Kristi fashion, I forgot to take a picture if today's gift...and it was the best one. Dang it--I'll have to make one for us, I guess. And not that I'm bitter-much!-but a Silhouette would have made this sooooooo much more fun. I'm just sayin'.

--out & about :)

30 November 2010

Ever have...

...one of those days?  Today was a tough day at work--had to do something very unpleasant and look like a fool doing it because I had a gut feeling.  I hope it pays off in the end, or at least makes some people happier.



I just got inspired--I saw something on my blog roll that gave me an idea for those "hard to figure out" big kid gifts this year.  You know who you are, nieces and nephews...

Anyway, I'm grateful this morning for those moments of inspiration.  I love that flash of "that's IT!" and how happy it makes me to have a path in my mind where before there was just confusion.

I'm also grateful for perspective...I went to bed last night feeling really down about a work issue and just generally feeling unsure about it--but I woke up during the night with an idea and an attitude adjustment, and I'm grateful for both.  :)

29 November 2010

Time at Home

Today I'm thankful for a day at home to regroup, prepare for work this week, spend some time with friends, gather my thoughts...I know what's on my "have to do" list this week, but I also know that family & friends who are as close as family come first so that trumps the list.  We'll see what the week brings...

28 November 2010

What I See Right Now...

A few minutes ago, James & Noble got up.  I was tempted to go back to sleep and sleep a little later, but then I remembered that Noble fell asleep last night before James put the "colors lights" on the tree.  I did NOT want to miss Noble's first look at the tree.  And man, was it worth it...

I'm sitting on the couch in the dark living room, and Noble just walked in with a pair of binoculars.  He's standing here in a pajama shirt and a pull-up looking at the lit tree with those binoculars...and every time he says, "ooohhhh...it big!"  :)

I am thankful for Christmas for so, so many reasons, but this year I'm thankful for the chance to see it through Noble's eyes.  It already seems bigger and more sparkly from here.

*I'll post a pic later of our tree, I'm sure.

27 November 2010

This Guy!

Yesterday morning, James took off to go get gas and "check the air in the tires."  Alrighty.  We were getting ready for our trip so I was like, okay...weird, but okay.  He came back a few minutes later and was lurking in the hallway while I put on makeup.  James gauges my mood by my eyes--the bluer, the happier.  He kept looking at me and saying, "You don't seem very...happy this morning."  (I wasn't--Melissa's Dad died on Thanksgiving, and then yesterday was Mr. Maberry's birthday--I was reeling and trying to keep moving forward so we could have a fun weekend.)  So I told him that it was Mr. Maberry's birthday, and the story of the evening that he died.  I told him about the dream I'd had Thanksgiving night when my Dad called to ask if I knew what happened...made me wonder if he was calling about Skip...so that's what I woke up with.  Anyway, poor James...I told him all of this and he just looked kind of stunned.  He knew Skip was on my mind, but that's a lot for a "fun Friday" morning. He said it again, though, "still, are you...happy?"  Sigh.  I have to give myself credit for being patient, because he was weirding me out and I just wanted to get on the road.  And he kept picking up my perfume and messing with the bottle, which was irritating.  (This is the part where I mention that I get a new bottle of Happy twice a year--around Mother's Day and my birthday/Christmas...my bottle is emp-ty right now, and I've been counting the days to getting a new one!)  When I looked down again, there was a full bottle of Happy in my Boy's hand...he'd gone out to Palais Royal (the only place in Brenham that sells it) and bought me a new bottle.  How sweet is he?  I messed up the surprise with my melancholy, but still--so sweet and thoughtful!

That was a long intro.  But that's the kind of Boy James is...he surprises me with big and little things, and even though he drives me nuts sometimes, he is a wonderful husband and best friend and Daddy.  I know exactly how blessed I am to be on this journey with someone who gets me and appreciates me (most of the time!) and wants the same things out of life I want.  We make a great team, and I don't ever want to take it for granted (but I do sometimes).

So today I'm thankful for this guy...and the life I have because of him.  :)

26 November 2010

So This is Christmas...

James can photoshop my eyes open, I hope.  Someday I'll learn how to take a decent picture...

Taylor (our shelf elf) arrived this morning.  We've been to Fredericksburg and now we're in Marble Falls and we've seen Santa--Christmas is officially here in our world.

Today I'm thankful for the things that have become traditions for our family, and for the traditions that we've brought from our respective families.  These are the little things that make me happy--it's the creature of habit in me,  I'm sure.  :)

As much fun as we've had in Marble Falls, I'm looking forward to getting home tomorrow and decorating for Christmas.  This is the first year Noble really understands Christmas (well, he's starting to understand!) and it's fun to watch him rediscover everything.  Tomorrow ought to be fun!

25 November 2010

And my other family...

...before I was part of my favorite family of 4, I was part of a family of 5.  We weren't perfect--dear God, nowhere near.  Many days I would have traded with any number of my friends, truth be told.  But as I get older, I realize just how much of me--good and bad, that's how it works--was shaped by my family.

I can't believe it's been 2 years since we took this picture (really it was Dad's birthday 2 years ago, not Thanksgiving)...I can't believe this is the 2nd Thanksgiving we'll celebrate without Dad in the kitchen.  I can't believe it's been 19 months since I've talked to him.  I can't believe a lot of things...but I remember, and for today that will be enough.  I'm thankful for the memories, and for reminders of where we've been and what we've done and what's important.

Big hugs to you guys who are missing someone today, too.

These Guys...

If I had to pick one "thing" that I am most thankful for, it's my family.  I can't begin to put into words how much I love my Boy and the knuckleheads...to quote Jerry Maguire, they "...complete me."  :)  
(Yes, this picture is a year old, but it's what I have handy.  It's still one of my favorites, sippy cup and all!)

24 November 2010

Infarrantly Creative + Silhouette Machine? I'm there!

You know I'm dying to win a Silhouette machine...I just discovered that Infarrantly Creative is ALSO giving one away.  Turns out, several bloggers have a machine to give away this week!  Go by and check out IC--she's got TONS of great ideas.  I could hang out there all day...and I will if I'm not careful.  Seriously, I've been up for an hour already...and haven't graded a single assignment.  :)


Great Teachers

I'm sure one of us will post about this later on our family blog, but I'm so grateful for Kayci's teachers.  We have been so blessed by great teachers at Krause (and before that, her 4 year old teacher ROCKED...and we still get to see her every day since she started working at Krause when Kayci's class started Kinder.  Woo hoo!).  Kayci loves, loves school and looks forward to going every day.  Yesterday we went on a mini field trip with Kayci's teachers and one of her friends--Kayci has apparently been leading the kids in picking up pecans on the playground.  They've been saving them in ziplocs and their math teacher wanted to make a lesson out of it, so she told them that they could sell whatever they collected and buy things for the classroom.  63 pounds later...It was a cool lesson, and Kayci had a blast.  They had right at $50 to spend at the teacher store, and it was fun to watch them.  :)

23 November 2010

12 Days of Christmas

I have wanted to do this for YEARS...but haven't been organized enough to get it together in time.  I'm pretty sure...no, I'm 100% sure...that when Kayci was in Kindergarten, I dropped her off at school, put together the gifts for her class, then hit a cool store downtown for a teacher gift ON my way to her Christmas party.  That's how I rolled that year.  (Dad was sick, Noble was a baby and also sick for a week at a time every other week that semester...)  Last year I was better, but busy with work so I messed up the timing and ended up just giving a traditional gift.  Nice, but not THIS.

So--this year, I've got it together.  Gift-wise, anyway.  Starting on December 2nd, Kayci has a small gift for her teacher (and her afternoon teacher, too--2nd has 2 teachers) every day until the last day of school before break.  Pretty crazy when you think there are only 15 school/work days between Thanksgiving break and Christmas break, right??  I knew that I needed to gather the gifts this week or I'd never get it done--I've got to be in Houston 4 of 5 days next week.  But that's a different post...


Oh, my--Amy's giving away a Silhouette machine!  That is SO on my Christmas list!

I would love, love a Silhouette machine--think of everything I could make...including the shirts my Boy and I are going to (sigh) have to use the printer to make today since I couldn't get them to the shop in time for vinyl.  See--if I had my own machine, I could just make them.

If you aren't an Idea Room follower already (seriously, who's NOT?), head over there today and sign up for the Silhouette giveaway!  And if you don't know what a Silhouette is, go sign up anyway--then give it to me.  I have a birthday coming up, too, you know...

Thanks, Amy at the Idea Room, for sponsoring the giveaway!


Yesterday Noble and I went up to school to watch the 2nd graders make Oreo turkeys. 
 I LIVE for stuff like that, when I get to just be a Mommy. 
(Don't get offended, other Mommys--you know I'm referring to my own juggling here.)

Last night when I was putting away laundry, I was struck by the thought that in a few more days, 
they'll be able to wear their Christmas shirts.   
In a few more days, we'll see Santa.  
(Although Noble has already informed me that he's NOT sitting on his wap, he'll just give a high pive.)
In a few more days, my favorite fall decorations will go away to make room for Christmas.
In a few more days, I can Christmas shop in the open.  :)  
I'm loving right now--but I love what's coming, too.  
It IS the most wonderful time of the year!

22 November 2010


Today's thankful thought is selfish, but it's what I'm truly thankful for--BlackBoard was down over the weekend.  That meant all of the instructors (that's me!) and all of the students had the weekend "off"...
no e-mails, no phone calls...I could have graded, but I opted to truly be OFF.  This was the first 2 days that I didn't work in I don't know when--it was awesome.  Back to the real world today, of course, since I have to catch up on grading and other stuff...and do some work for GP...but I'll work it out.  
I took a whole weekend off, and it was great!  

21 November 2010

Family & Friends

Yesterday evening we had dinner with old friends and their kids...this is the 2nd time in a month or so, and I had such a great time AGAIN--we're 2 for 2!  It's awesome to spend time with friends who a) have kids who play beautifully with our kids (kind of like the friends we had dinner with at Chili's this week--good times!) and b) who can pick up right where we left off and we can just visit and laugh...you know, those friends who KNOW you inside and out, know where you've been, know all of your quirks but also what makes you cool...and they love you for all of it.  The friends you've grown up with (some of the friends I've grown up with I've only known since I started teaching--but they're just THAT kind of friends!) and the friends who you've grown older with.  I love evenings like last night where we looked forward to it all day, had a great time for the two hours we sat and ate and visited, then left and just felt good about the time we'd spent.  

We had a long drive home, sleeping kids, and time to visit.  My Boy and I have lots of family and lots of friends, near and far, and we talked about how sometimes you spend time with people and spend a lot of time being reminded how you don't spend enough time with them.  Which, if you're one of those, does NOT make people want to spend more time with you.  We talked about some of our family, and how we don't see them but once a year now and sometimes less...but we always pick up right where we left off, we enjoy our time together, and we look forward to doing it again--even if again is next year.  What a blessing!  We talked about the friends we saw last night, and how fun it is to have friends who you never need to "catch up with" (facebook is great for that, too!) and you can just...be.  And enjoy.  

So today I'm thankful for family and friends.  I won't name names because you know who you are.  :)  And if I did try to name names, I'd just get excited and leave someone off...and that would suck for both of us.  We are blessed with great friends who feel like family, and we love you guys!    

We're going to have dinner with James' Ant and cousin tonight, and I can't wait.  (The company is a big draw, of course, but they've got sweet potato fries, y'all!)  As for the rest of today, I think we're going to keep on with the keeping on and just hang out at home.  So far we've watched the special features on "Toy Story 3," made a grocery list and a menu for the next couple of days, talked through Thanksgiving plans, enjoyed James' french toast...and now everyone's just hanging out.  It's a good thing!  Hope you're having a great day, too--and if you're traveling, be safe!

A challenge:  Take some time today to spend some time with someone you love and miss--whether it's sending a message on facebook, a text about something funny that reminds you of them, a phone call, an e-mail, a letter (mlb--you're due!)...do something.  Reach out!

20 November 2010

Bitty Beauty

Yesterday we were over at the Dallmeyers' jumping on the trampoline and hanging out after school.  At one point, I was watching Noble play and laugh and my heart actually HURT from loving him so much.  Then I looked out in the yard and Kayci was dancing with her friends, and there was that feeling again.  I was struck, looking at her face, by her beauty.   When I look at Bitty, I see the best of both of us, and I just have to thank God because I know I have nothing to do with it.  :)

Right now we're going through a bit of a rough spot attitude-wise, and I have to keep reminding my girl that pretty is as pretty does...but not in those words.  I am so proud of who Kayci IS--the person she is on the inside, and it stresses me out when she's sassy or worse, snotty.  Not just on the "how dare she?" level, but there's just my fear of her turning into one of those girls who I couldn't stand growing up.  I don't ever want her to take being cute for granted or use it as an excuse to not be a good person, if that makes any sense.  I know it's just a phase and she's trying out the teenage attitude she sees on TV and in movies and in some of the people she looks up to.  Come on, who's more sarcastic than I am?  It's no wonder sometimes when she pops off and I have to check myself because I know those same words (and that same snotty tone) probably came right out of my mouth at one point.  Parenting is very humbling--I can't take credit for the good parts, because I know those are blessings, but the bad parts?  All me, usually.

Today marks the start of a 9-day vacation!  Kind of; I'll still be working, but I don't have to go TO Galena Park, which is a huge relief after the past few weeks.  4 days this week...no wonder Kayci's having a rough time.  Heck, I'm having a rough time!  Anyway, back to vacation.  James is off all week, and Kayci is off as of lunchtime Wednesday...we're all looking forward to some downtime.  Which is why I'm absolutely confused as to why I woke up at 2:30 this morning and can't go back to sleep.  What part of "vacation" does my brain not understand??  (Although, really--when I sit here and start thinking about what I have to get done this week...let's call a spade a spade.  My Boy is on vacation.  It's a holiday week.  And I have a LOT to get done between here and Thursday.  Sigh...)

19 November 2010


Well, they don't live by us anymore, but we're still big Headley fans! We visited them briefly last week, and it was just the way it should be with good friends--we all picked up right where we left off. :) I am so grateful for the time we had together as neighbors, but I look forward, too, to what's to come.

18 November 2010

Eh-er and de Boys!

Every night at dinner, Noble insists on praying.  And every night at dinner, he thanks God for Eh-er and de Boys.  That's Ms. Heather, Mason, and Alex...and we're grateful for her big Boy, too, Mr. Andy.  Both of our kids love the Dallmeyers and would move in over there if we'd let them.  I try not to be offended when Kayci informs me that Ms. Heather is a better Mommy.  :)  I am thankful for Ms. Heather because she's always there to rescue me by picking up Kayci if I run late from Houston in addition to Wednesdays, when she keeps her while I work/have meetings after school.  She does SO MUCH for me/us in addition to her own crazy schedule, but she's still always asking, "what can I do?"  Both of us have had pretty crazy fall semesters, but we've survived so far by laughing...a lot.   I'm so glad you guys moved to Brenham, Heather...I would be lost without you!  Not just for what you "do" for me, but your friendship and the fun we all have with the boys.  :)

17 November 2010

Good Night's Sleep

We have pictures of our kids sleeping everywhere...but the truth is, it's a rare night when both of them sleep all the way through in their room.  Kayci doesn't usually wake us up anymore, but Noble definitely does.  Imagine my surprise when my alarm went off this morning and I was still cuddled up with my Boy, right where I went to sleep.  Ahhhhhh.....

16 November 2010


I'm thankful this morning for my Boy...he's staying home with Noble this morning while I go to a meeting in Houston. Yesterday was a rough day all around, but I know today will be a MILLION times better! :)

15 November 2010

My Favorite New Teenager

Happy 13, Reagan!
We love you BIG!!!

We had fun this weekend working on Reagan's birthday party...you might be surprised by what you can accomplish just with wrapping paper, a little creativity, and a lot of hard work. :).

Have a great day & a great week, birthday girl!!

14 November 2010

Happy Birthday, Grandpa!

Today I'm thankful for memories of my Dad, and for time to celebrate him with my family.  This weekend we've been reminded of the good times and just everyday times, and how precious it ALL is.  

13 November 2010


Today's thankful thought was a no-brainer:  I'm thankful for my gym-tastic girl.  She has cheer clinic this morning, and it was fun to hear her open up about last week--she just told us last night that they cradled her and put her up last week.  Daddy was like, hey, I can cradle!  She's just not sure yet what she's most interested in, so we try to encourage it all...sometimes I (not she,  I) feel pressure to have her do more, take more classes, get better training...what if she's a cheerleader, dancer, singer, you name it one day?  But then I come back to my senses and remember that those things will come--right now it's about enjoying what she's doing and getting the basics down.  And for right now, we'll stick to one activity at a time (although we are in talks to let her do Chorus next year in addition to gymnastics...we'll see) so she can enjoy being a kid, above all.  Oh, and what a kid she is.  :)  

12 November 2010

Morning Coffee

I have to go in to Houston this morning for a full day of Staff Development.  I'm looking forward to hanging out with my team (although some of my favorite friends won't be there--sniff...enjoy your time with general ed., and know I'll be missing you!).  I woke up at 4 this morning to do my Friday morning grading (2 more weeks of teaching, then it's back to just CyberCoordinating) before I get on the road, and I was a little confused when I opened the bedroom door and smelled coffee brewing.  Okay, a lot confused, since I was the only one up.  But then I remembered the auto brew function, and I smiled...it made me so happy that James would think to have coffee waiting for me since he knew waking up this morning wouldn't be very fun.  I'm thankful for my morning coffee, and for my thoughtful Boy.  :)

*Note:  today, November 12, is the day that Luke passed away.  Say a little prayer for him & Carol today--I know this is a hard day for her.  It's a double whammy as it's the day before her birthday.  But, she's way excited today to be going to a concert with Dan and Grandma, so I'm sure that helps!  :)

11 November 2010

Thankful for Freedom

We are proud to fly our country's flag today, and to be reminded of the price others have paid for our freedom to fly it. Thanks doesn't come close, does it?

For Ronny, Celena, Gary, Chris, Luke, Granddaddy, Alf and all the others who served and are serving: thank you. Today we learned a lot about life as a veteran, and it was humbling.

Thankful for: Smooth Sailing

I snapped this picture with my phone (Hipstamatic) when we were in Bastrop last month.  Don't they look like they're about to go and discover something, or conquer a new land?  Between the two of them, I don't doubt their ability.

I love moments where everything in the universe seems to align and point right to the truth you needed to see.  I had one of those moments the Sunday morning of our camping trip.  You know I think a lot about family and parenting and being a better Mommy and wife...probably too much.  But I do.  That Sunday morning, we went for a canoe ride.  It was the first time I'd been in a canoe since before Kayci was born, and the first time either kid had ever been in a canoe.  Sounds a little scary, but it really wasn't--they both sat very still and for the most part followed directions really well.  It was so nice to be out on the lake (it's a little one, but a lake nonetheless) in the stillness of the morning.  The weather was perfect, it was quiet...and even sitting in a small craft with my entire family, I was able to really BE and think for a little while.  (When does that happen?  Never...)

Here's what I thought about:  that canoe ride was exactly like our family life.  For things to go smoothly, there could only be one boss/leader--and that's James.  There's a definite chain of command when you're on a canoe...and I was second.  And you know what?  That was okay.  I know a lot, but not enough to keep our family afloat.  Keeping that canoe steady and moving in the right direction required teamwork and clear communication...both giving directions and listening for directions, then carrying out said directions.  For every action, there was a reaction.  Kayci wanted to see what would happen when we only paddled on one side, so we showed her...and promptly went in circles.  What a great lesson that was!  Paddling, like life, is all about balance.  She also wanted to see what it was like to paddle--and was surprised at how hard it was.  It looked easy when we did it, because we're older and bigger and have had lots of practice.  I'm thinking this will make for a good simile in the next few years when she tries to grow up too fast...help me remember.

Back to the for every action there was a reaction--we had a lot of fun dipping the tip of the paddle in the water and watching the ripples.  One very small touch led to ripples that made it all the way back to shore in some cases.  It's fascinating, the ripple effect:  I observe it often at work, when someone (sometimes me) makes a decision and the effects of that decision keep going and going in directions we never could have predicted (or could have, had we worked it out, but that's another story).  It's a bit dizzying when you think about how every choice we make in life or as a parent ripples out into eternity--how we treat our kids affects how they treat people and eventually, their own kids and then eventually, how those kids treat their kids...  What we spend the most time and effort on (whether that's work, money, appearance, family, self) teaches our kids that it's what we value the most--that's a ripple we don't often anticipate and try so hard to undo with words (family first, as we're heading out the door to work...things don't matter, as we buy the top of the line--again...it's not important what people think, as we suit up in the outfit of the season worn by all of our cool friends...I could go on).  So I think about that a lot--where will this decision lead?

Okay, the kids are up so I'm off.  I didn't even get to the obvious one about rocking the boat...Noble got a little wiggly by the end of the ride and demonstrated this one for us.

Here's to smooth sailing today.  And by the way, thanks to all of the veterans who've paved the way for us as Americans to have smooth sailing...and to be able to worry about silly things like canoe rides instead of where we'll get food for our kids and avoiding terrorists in the streets.

10 November 2010


I'm a neat freak, but today I'm thankful for messes.  Now, it's me, so I'm not talking about the messes that my family members make for mess' sake...like, when Noble throws every single ball out of the bucket or dumps every single puzzle.  Those messes drive me nuts.  I'm talking about the messes that come from plain ol' having fun...like this chocolate chip cookie on the front door, or the playdough remnants on the living room floor from our impromptu playdough party yesterday (6 kids!).  I found myself smiling as I went around yesterday wiping down doors and door frames, because I could totally see in my head what caused the marks--Kayci using the door frames to lift herself up and hang and do tricks.  What do your messmakers do that makes you smile?

(Don't get excited, Boy-o...I'm not saying I'm down with messes by any means, so please make sure the house is intact when I get home from work tonight so I can enjoy your day off tomorrow!  That is all.)

09 November 2010

Correction--It's Early, Still

My mistake...I was wrong.  James and I WERE dating Christmas of 1996...I was thinking this was the Christmas before we started dating, but nope.  I was just wrong.  Whoops.

Local Artist

(Christmas 1996--pre Sammy makeover...pre dating...everyone sat on Sammy Claus' lap that day)

Today I'm thankful for local artists.  Well, really just the one a few rooms over, working on this year's Tree of Light logo.  Most of you know that we met at the Tree of Light ceremony back in 1993.  Do you know that story?  If not, I'll share it sometime.  

Anyway, I am a pretty creative person, but much of my success is owed to the fact that I can have an idea and share it with my Boy, and he can make it come to life.  He's so talented, to talk about everything he can do would just be bragging.  But seriously--a few feet away I have my own photographer, videographer, editor, sound guy, graphic artist, cartoonist, branding expert...you name the creative field, he owns it.  

I'm grateful for my Boy.  Even though he ticks me off when he tries to help me with laundry and hangs clothes facing the wrong way on the hanger and I think he does it on purpose to get out of helping with the laundry for another year.  I still love him.  And speaking of, I think it's time for my morning hug...

08 November 2010

Motor Lab!

I'm thankful today for Motor Lab--for the years of work and dreams that brought us to this point, for the awesome teacher who made it come to life, for the therapist who's so much more, and the administrators who have been so supportive. Today we are one step closer to realizing a dream!

This picture is horrible, I know--but it's so gratifying to see where we are compared to where we've been. Don't the colors just make you happy?! Stay tuned for more...

07 November 2010


Today we went to see "Megamind." It sold out, so we stuck around for the next showing, which was in 3-D. Keep mind, I avoid 3-D because of motion sickness & Noble has yet to attempt to wear the glasses successfully. Imagine our surprise when a) it turned out to be a really good movie and b) Noble sat in his seat--a first!--wearing his glasses--another first!--for the entire movie. As much as it pains me, he's growing up.

This evening marked another milestone...we packed up the toddler bed. He sleeps in the full size bed with Kayci, anyway, and we really wanted to make room for her desk in their room. She loves to write and create, and it's sometimes hard to do that wither desk in the public space that is the office. Every visiting friend ends up at her desk, and it's been getting to her. So, as of today, she has her own space again (in their shared room, of course, but it's still progress).

(notice all of her notes & stuff taped to the wall--I always sword my kids wouldn't do that. Sigh. So we compromise--she has her own painter's tape!)

And last but not least, once again the office has grown with us and changed a bit. I redid the shelves (added new boxes for Noble toys, reorganized & rearranged to reduce clutter) and we brought the cart in from storage to hold the random toys that lived on the buffet (the dining room is now officially a toy-free zone!) and moved the easel to be beside Noble's desk...we'll see how it all shakes out. I will say that everyone else was right--reducing the sheer number of toys available has lent itself to much better play...not just throwing toys around. Again, we'll see...and be open to change.

If feels good to clean stuff out and organize what's sticking around. Maybe someday I'll tackle those kitchen cabinets...


Dang Blogpress...accidentally posted to our family blog. So, today I'm thankful for memories of mornings with my Dad. Sigh--head over there if you want to know why.

06 November 2010

Thankful for: Organization!

No pic today...just a grateful heart and peaceful mind.  I finally had time to finish putting away Halloween, which led to me reorganizing the office shelves (just tweaking--they'd gotten piled up a bit and needed a bit of attention) which led to me pulling all of the CRAP out of my work closet that I'd been collecting for workboxes...so we have a clean toy space, a cleaned out work closet, and a car loaded down with great stuff to take to work on Monday.  Phew.  James is on a roll, as well, out in the shed...you should see the stuff flying out of there!  Once he gets some of that done, he can pick up a few odds and ends that have been visiting in the office for a while, and then Monday after the fire truck bed goes to a new home we can move Kayci's desk from the office to their room and reorganize that corner... It feels good to get rid of stuff and find "real" homes for the stuff we have/are keeping.  Disorganization makes me GRUMPY, and it leaves me feeling very unsettled and unfocused.

So, today I'm grateful for organization.  And for the time to get organized.

And now for the house full of kids who are wreaking havoc on said organization.  But that's the beauty of it--when things have a place to go, it's not such a big deal when they get out of place.  A few minutes to pop stuff back in boxes or back on shelves, and good as new.  :)

This weekend so far has been a great mix of getting stuff checked off our to-do list and just hanging out with the family and friends.  Tomorrow looks to be more of the same...I'm a happy girl!  Hope your weekend is rocking right along, as well...

05 November 2010

Found it!!

You know I was looking for a fun way to work on gratitude this month with the knuckleheads...I'd seen a cool banner somewhere and was considering that, but didn't want to invest time or money, and wanted it to be somewhere they could reach it, blah blah.  Then this morning I saw yesterday's post on the Idea Room about thankful buckets, and the lightbulb went off!  I wanted to do something that could sit on our table so we could talk about what we're thankful for at mealtimes, so I found a fun container that was hanging around waiting to be filled with ribbons (another Idea Room find!) and downloaded the cards from Idea Room (thanks, Amy!).   We had a lot of fun with this at breakfast--everyone did their first card, and I can share that Noble was thankful for Halloween and Grandpa and was delighted to put cards in the jar.  "Wike a mailbox," he said!  :)  This is going to be so much fun on Thanksgiving!

Thankful for Time

I am not driving to Houston to work today. While the $$ would be nice, and heaven knows there's plenty to do, I just can't do that to my Bubby--he is worn down and worn out, and he needs time at home.

So today I am thankful for time...for having a flexible schedule that allows me to spend time at home if I need to.

I'm thankful for time...for having the time to let Bubby save baby worms whenever we visit Daddy's work. It's silly, but I take pride in taking time to let him be...Noble. I spent entirely too much time rushing my 2 year -old Kayci around, and as much as I regret that, I'll never get that time back. So I'm thankful that I'm learning from past mistakes, too, I guess. :)

What will you take time for today?

04 November 2010

Give Thanks

My mom made this banner for us last year; it says "give thanks."  I was tempted to hang it up back at the beginning of October, but I wanted to wait until this month and actually talk about gratitude every day.  Have you guys read the gratitude studies?  People who show gratitude are actually happier on the inside, which is just fascinating to me!  (Yes, that's simple-Kristi-talk which doesn't even touch what the studies show, but you've got Google.)

I remember one weekend when we were first married, Jarod came out to Spring to spend the day with us and we ended up at Barnes & Noble.  I picked up a "gratitude journal," because at that time I was looking for some meaning and trying to figure out how to be happy since my job was KILLIN' me and home was a very confusing place--turns out, being married grown-ups wasn't nearly as FUN as dating a fellow undergrad.  (Shocking, right?  I told you before, we were young and dumb.  But in love, thank God for that!)  Anyway...I had read about gratitude journals somewhere, about how just taking time to be grateful for a few good things in your life each day would make a huge difference in your outlook.  So I gave it a shot.  And in true Kristi fashion, when things lined out and quit feeling so bleak, I put it away.  Fast forward a decade, and that same journal sits on my desk every day.  (I found it again a while back and decided to be purposeful about gratitude again.)  Well, it's fallen by the wayside this fall, but it fits in with what I want to focus on with my kids this month--being grateful and giving thanks.  We are so blessed, but I think...no, I know...that we take 99% of our blessings for granted.

When I saw Lynn's Facebook posts this week, I was intrigued--I love to read what other people are thankful for!  Several other people are doing it, as well, and I think it's awesome...you guys give it a try.  I decided to do it here on my blog as we journey toward Thanksgiving Day this month.  We'll see where it goes!  I'm toying with the idea of a neat way to do a gratitude list with my kids each day this month; last year we used a paper leaf banner and wrote something on each leaf.  It was cool, but I'd like to try something different.  Maybe I'll get motivated and have something to show you tomorrow!  :)

For today, back to giving thanks--here are the 4 days in November so far:

1.  I'm thankful for my family, near and far, who make me who I am, good and bad.
2.  I'm thankful for our little house and the life we have here.
3.  I'm thankful for the friends, new and old, who share that life and make it more fun.
4.  I'm thankful for a new day and a chance to work again at getting things right this time.

What are you thankful for today?