28 February 2010

I don't know why she swallowed a fly...

Well, technically, it was a bee. Yesterday as we were getting ready to leave a friend's birthday party, I swallowed a bee. Stinkin' thing flew RIGHT INTO MY MOUTH and I couldn't get it out...it was the craziest, nastiest feeling. I don't think James believed me until I hacked up...eww...a very large bee leg.

I know, I know, I just grossed myself.

I don't know why I swallowed a bee...poor me!

27 February 2010

In an instant

Life can turn on a dime, as we all know. This morning I had an e-mail from an old friend about a lady in her neighborhood who had a baby on the 10th, then had some complications and is now fighting for her life. That's a very, very simplified version--Michele included a link to a blog her (Katy's) husband, Al, is writing as he tries to keep everyone informed. If you pray, please add this family to your list.

25 February 2010

Gut Feeling...

Sometimes you just have to go with your gut feeling. After we came in from playing in the snow Tuesday night, Kayci was crying and crying for what seemed like no reason. Finally, she told us her ear hurt (she didn't want to miss Career Day yesterday). After both kids had a cranky, restless night, I called the doctor and made an appointment for both of them. I realized that I totally sounded like Mother of the Year...um, yes, I think my daughter has an ear infection. Nope, no fever. Umm hmm, that's right. My son? Oh, yes, well, my gut says there's something going on with him, too. Symptoms? Ummm, no, just a rough night last night.

Even as I sat there with both kids in the exam room, I was doubting myself--it's RARE that either kid has ever had an ear infection without fever, but my gut was just saying they were both OFF. (Mind you, I had back to back meetings yesterday and "should" have been at work.) Here's how it all shook out:

2 kids
4 ear infections
1 icky throat
2 antibiotics
1 cough medicine
1 bottle of ear drops

And $103 later, not counting doctor fees, we were on our way. Sometimes it pays (or costs!) to go with the gut feeling, no?

24 February 2010


Thanks, Heather, for thinking of me! You made my week! If you guys don't read Heather's blog, it's great...I told her that I've actually gotten lazier about family blogging since she's been on the scene--everyone can just head over to Dallmeyer Days & see what's going on in Kayci's life! :))

So now I list 7 things about myself that you might not know and pass this on to another Beautiful Blogger. That's tough on both counts! Hmm...

1. My biggest fear? Zombies. Yup.

2. I can't work/concentrate in a messy room.

3. My music tastes range from Conway Twitty to U2 to Tori Amos to John Mayer to Doug Stone to Alanis to Johnny Cash to...well, all over the place. I'm not sure what that says about me!

4. I always have cold feet, and I can't go to sleep unless I'm touching my boy with said cold feet. Sorry, boy.

5. It's tough to think of 7 things!

5. Okay, really this time...hmm. I love, love all things office supply-related. Paper, pens, pencils, Sharpies, paper clips, rubber bands, scissors...I could spend SO MUCH money on this stuff. Oh wait, I do!

6. My favorite store in the world is Target. Okay, you knew that. So add this: my favorite thing about Target is finding the reddish orange stickers!

7. I'm dreading the end of winter because I don't know what shoes I want to wear this spring. It'll be too warm for my rubber boots, too cool for my flip flops (did I tell you they got me new zebra Yellow Boxes for Christmas?!)...and my flats are all at the end of their road. So I might have to buy some new shoes, and this is stressful for me because I HATE to spend money on shoes but I love, love fun shoes. :)

Ah ha!!! I did it! Crap, it only took me 20 minutes. I'd better get back to work--I'm supposed to be on the road today but sick kids have kept me here in town. I need to get some work done while I can before it's time to camp out at the clinic.

Oh, and my pick for Beautiful Blogger? Tracye, one of the most fun girls I know. I love your positive attitude and the way you can find the fun in EVERYTHING. You inspire me! Enjoy!

18 February 2010

Morning Light

Please excuse the photo quality--my phone is FILTHY, thanks to a certain almost-two year old.
It's Thursday. Yesterday was a LONG day, complete with a long commute and some issues that remain unresolved that I'm determined to leave in Houston, at work. What a blessing it was to drive out of the city yesterday and leave it all behind and enjoy the sunset (the skies between Brenham in Houston are worth the drive!). I got home and had some family time, then the kids were off to bed and James and I had a movie date (thanks, itunes & apple tv!). I only watched a little bit, but I think "The Time Traveler's Wife" was pretty good--thanks, boy, for letting me sleep!

I woke up this morning tired but refreshed, grateful to be at home. We had our weekly out-to-breakfast date at the Bakery (we alternate between Max's Donuts or Olde Towne Bakery) and then we went our separate ways. Instead of running errands like I usually do, or hitting the gym for a quick cardio session (ha!), I came home, grabbed my 2nd cup of coffee (another luxury!) and sat down to talk to my mom for a while on the phone. Then I checked my e-mail and basically wasted 30 minutes. Now I'm off to MOPS and then I'll run a couple of errands and come home to clean house. Today, I'm just going to be a Mommy and a Wife. And a Girl Scout Leader, but that's Mommy, right? I can't tell you how excited I am to take a day "off" and step away from the computer. It's been a long couple of weeks, work-wise.

I snapped the picture because the morning light is one of the things I love most about the little green house. While I'm sitting here taking note of all the things that are covered in a 2-week layer of dust, I'm also just appreciating sitting here. It's a beautiful morning, and I'm enjoying it. I hope you are, too!

16 February 2010


I've got a big work project due today. (Um, yeah, and I'm not working right this second, I know.) Last night I was talking to my mom about what's on our plate this week and I mentioned that there was a big last-minute change to the project, which in the past would have given me an excuse to ask for an extension and procrastinate a little longer. But I'm determined NOT to do that anymore, and I told her that I'm still going to get the project done today. She paused and said something to the effect of, "you're really...handling your work differently these days." It wasn't a negative, just a comment. But it made me think, and I told her that I have changed when it comes to my work. I've been out of the classroom for almost 5 years now. The entire time, I've had a hard time finding the right balance--I tend to be all in with work, or all in with home, but I suck at keeping priorities straight and doing what I need to do when I need to do it. I've always got a million balls in the air, and in the past 5 years, I've dropped a lot of them. More than I'm proud of. I've missed some MAJOR work deadlines, and I'm certainly not proud of that. I can honestly say that I've not turned in any projects that I'm less than proud of...but I'm way less than proud of how long it took to produce some of those projects. One thing I rock at? Finding excuses. Hmm, do any of these sound familiar?

-Can't do that right now...we're remodeling and the house is just crazy.
-Running behind...James is commuting 3 hours a day and things are just crazy.
-Just getting settled in Brenham...things are crazy.
-I spend part of the week in Houston...things are crazy.
-I'm sick...things are crazy.
-Just had surgery...things are crazy.
-I'm pregnant...things are crazy.
-On bed rest...things are crazy.
-Just had a baby...things are crazy.
-Grandma just died...things are crazy.
-My dad's sick...things are crazy.
-The baby's sick again...things are crazy.

You get the idea--the rest is recent history. When school started this year, I decided that I'd start with a clean slate. I've been setting office hours and sticking to them. I've been turning in work on time (even reports!) and doing my best to stay ahead of the game. But I've also been spending time in the moment, with my kids, with James...keeping the house up...making big and little days special for my family...doing all the things I LOVE to do for them and with them. I couldn't have done this before now, for whatever reason. I'm grateful for my renewed sense of purpose, and for the balance I'm seeking each day.

There's always something extra that comes along that puts me off-balance...and that's okay. That's life. I readjust (sometimes after whining a little...or a lot!) and move on. I'm learning. I feel like I'm where I'm supposed to be and today is all I can work on, so I need to BE here and enjoy it.

Gotta go--I gave myself until 9 to take kids to school, run a couple of errands, eat breakfast, check e-mail and blog a bit. I'm totally cheating, though--I'm listening to "The Bachelor" in the background. Shh--don't tell me how it ends! (Mom, I can't talk to you until I finish watching it--you always give it away!!)

15 February 2010

5 Things!

I just saw this on Today's Housewife...Sandra listed 5 things she does to show her husband love, and then asked HIM to list 5 things she could do to show him love. It's no shocker that the lists don't exactly add up...but what a great way to communicate with your boy!

I e-mailed James and asked him for his 5...I won't publish our lists because they may not be family-friendly, but I encourage you to ask YOUR spouse and make your own list. What fun!

:) me

If I know...

...that I need to eat less and exercise more,
why don't I?

... that I need to be more patient with my family,
why aren't I?

...that there are people in my inner circle who need more of my time and energy,
why don't I give it to them?

...that I sometimes get my priorities backwards,
why don't I straighten them out?

...that I tend to push the envelope with my work time-management,
why can't I get ahead of schedule?

...that I need to spend more time with God's word and less time focused on man's world,
why don't I?

I left my workout today frustrated with myself...why am I here, in this place, again, when I know what I need to do? I know what I need to BE...and I'm not.


14 February 2010

Best. Valentines. Ever.

James surprised us with these awesome cards--they take my breath away!

13 February 2010

Or, why it's not a food log day...

Thanks for the idea, Idea Room!

-- Posted from my iPhone

11 February 2010

Kids these days

Yeah, she did. Wear gold lame to school.

And yeah, he did.

And look what the Pilot did today!

-- Posted from my iPhone

An Apology

I must apologize to all of my Houston & Brenham area friends...you see, it's a LaPorte day. That's the only explanation I have for the sleet and rain and overall yuck. I had to laugh yesterday when I picked Noble up from school and saw "listen for school closings!" signs everywhere. Have you noticed that every 2 weeks, on Thursday, we have some sort of weather event...or a major weather event predicted that falls through? God, are you trying to tell me something about this gig?!

So, stay warm and dry. And I'm sorry.

Blog Envy

I know, I know...jealousy is a horrible emotion. But I'm laying here, blog-hopping, hoping to be able to find my way back to sleep (Noble's 2 AM wake-up call worked, what do you know?), and I have seen some amazing blogs. Now, I'm a little envious that these women have these amazing, DECORATED, homes...but those are just things. What I'm really envious of is...you know, maybe I'm not envious. Hmm.

It's more like, I'm in a season of my life when I WANT to write...but life has other plans. I have my family and my home and my work...unfortunately, some days, not in that order. I don't have time right now to read the blogs I'd like to read and spend time with my thoughts and wishes. I'd love to take time to comment on some of the wonderful things I run across...love to read more...love to share favorite things with you...love to learn more about how other people live, parent, love...

I don't wish for this time...because God has a sense of humor and He'll either help me find time in the middle of the night...sigh...or, well, let's not think about it. :)

So there it is. To all of you amazing women--and men, like my boy--who are out there blogging away and sharing the love, thanks. Someday I'll join you...

10 February 2010

The Devil is in the Details

Kayci is soooooo my girl--she notices every little detail. Usually.

Two winters ago, when I was still pregnant with Noble, we redid our bathroom. I've always loved the Moda cowboy prints, and I found a sheet set downtown that was such a good buy, I couldn't pass it up. Mom turned the flat sheet into a shower curtain with the ribbon loops inside like I like (have you seen that? The liner hooks TO the shower curtain, so no second bar!), and I absolutely love that shower curtain. The idea was that since we only have one bathroom, we'd start mixing in some elements from the main parts of the house (ha, our house probably isn't big enough for "main" parts, but you get the idea) instead of having a bathroom that matched our bedroom back when we first got married. :) Anyway...so this was two years ago.

Last week at MOPS, we made a fun chalkboard frame. I went with red bandanna print, thinking this would be the oomph! the bathroom counter needed after all this time. When I set out the frame, I liked it a lot, but the counter was unbalanced.

I brought Kayci's old boots in from the living room (they've just traveled from room to room since we've lived here...I love them and love to use them, but they've never found a permanent home). I like them here...think it would be funny to find a tall enough soap dispenser that a soap dispenser could live in one boot, lotion in the other. Hmm.

So this is where we are now. I like it. Someday I'll swap Kayci's cowboy/cowgirl couple for an embroidered "Dear God, please tell Mommy that cowboys don't have to take baths..." but I want an embroidered one, not a print. Still looking, have been for years. :) Anyway, the only thing that's changed is the counter. And here's where the story was headed all along...on Sunday, Kayci says, "oh, so we have a cowboy bathroom now." I said, "it's been this way for two years, except for the counter." And she says, "really?"

Um, yeah.

08 February 2010

Mirror Image

It's been an eye-opening experience, being back in the gym again for the first time in YEARS. I've had to face myself in the mirror, literally. Jonathan, our trainer, makes me watch in the mirror to make sure that I'm exercising correctly and so I can learn the form for when I'm on my own. Yesterday I did a set in front of the mirror and then when I turned away out of habit, he made me turn back. It wasn't a big deal, as deals go, but something fell into place. I realized that I don't ever LOOK at myself. I look at bits and pieces of me, whatever part I'm dressing or making up or whatever, but I don't every step back and look at the whole picture. That realization hit pretty hard. Over the past couple of weeks, so many truths have come to light about me and my body and how I've straight up neglected it and abused it for the past 7+ years. Longer than that, really. If we're being honest. Which I've decided to be--you've seen me. One day last week we did an inverted pose in yoga and I put my hands on my waist to steady my trunk. It was squishy. Like, it kind of grossed me squishy. And this is what James feels every day? Poor guy! That moment was a low point, but it made me realize that I've just ignored the parts of my body I haven't wanted to deal with. Legs getting cottage cheesy? Wear capris, not shorts. Post baby stomach? Longer, looser shirts. You get the picture--you girls have done it, too, I'm sure. I just haven't LOOKED at myself and seen the REAL me that you all have seen the past several years. I've ignored the wobbly bits that my husband sees every day. So this whole looking in the mirror thing has been eye-opening for me on so, so many levels.

Yesterday I kept my first food log since Quick Weight Loss back in 2005. Get this--I thought I had a GOOD day. I had my one cup of coffee in the morning (turns out with the milk and sugar, there's 100 calories) and water the rest of the day. I skipped the sausage in my breakfast burrito. I made a healthy salad for lunch. And here's where it gets dicey...after lunch, I was hungry. So I ate a couple of pieces of celery while I worked. Still hungry, so I grabbed a string cheese when I went to pick up the kids. Still hungry...so at dinner, I had a second serving of turkey goulash. And then ate a piece of Noble's bread. I didn't snack or have a beer or anything after dinner because I knew that second portion blew it for me (did I mention, Jonathan's going to review my food logs next Monday? Um, yeah.). This morning I added it all up...and get this: 1874 calories. If I'd had the sausage for breakfast, that would have been another 230 calories, putting me over 2000. Yes, I worked out for 2 hours yesterday, but I did NOT burn that many calories. Holy crap! I'd cry if it weren't so freakin' funny. I thought I'd done WELL yesterday, other than the second serving. I was hungry, for pete's sake!

So, here's the good news: I feel better after a couple of weeks of steady yoga and workouts. I'm on track to feeling like the old me again. I haven't known that girl in a long time, so I'm curious to see how she'll fit into my new, grown-up Mommy life. So far, she's taking away my blog and Bachelor time each week. Dammit.

Back to work...bet you're counting your calories right now, aren't you?

In His Shoes

As we head into Valentine's week (yep, it's a whole week now, didn't you hear?), how we show love has been on my mind a lot. It's easy to love on my kids and my boy, but there's a lot to being loving and showing them kindness and love.

Yesterday right before James left for his SuperBowl party we were frantically running around trying to make the house decent for our dinner company, and I found myself starting to fuss at him over leaving the coffee filter, etc. in the coffee pot instead of cleaning it out that morning. Silly, right? There's no other word--I was fussing. That's even sillier! Things undone drive me NUTS--it's the OCD that hounds me. So as I started to bring it up to him, I stopped...and put myself in his shoes. He has made coffee every day for the last week or so, where we usually switch off. He hasn't said anything, he's done it gladly and even made my coffee most days. He's spoiled me. So, why does it matter if I have to throw away the filter and rinse the carafe? Really--DOES it matter? Did it matter enough for me to "correct" him last night? Nope. That was MY issue, not HIS. So I stopped myself. And I told him what I had planned to say and why I stopped, and thanked him for making coffee without complaint. It was such a small thing--but those small things, when left unchecked, can add up to big resentments.

So that's my challenge this week, girlfriends--let's check ourselves before we fuss at our boys and our kids. I think there's a happy week on the horizon at my house...I really, really need to take my own advice when it comes to Kayci. She's been experimenting lately with a little sass and some clothing choices that I wouldn't choose, and I need to keep my mouth shut as she's not hurting anyone and she's still totally appropriate. It will be a challenge for me, but the payoff is worth it. Wish me luck!

07 February 2010


I got out my laptop this morning to catch up on a report...and laughed.

When I opened said laptop to post some family pics on the blog (go check it out if you just read this on Facebook...www.ipharaon.blogspot.com), along came the undazzler.

My MacBook is bedazzled no more. :( Oh, well.

Happy Sunday, friends! If you drive by today, say happy birthday to Sami Dog--she's 15 today!

05 February 2010

Really Random Friday...

I can't believe it's been a week since I posted something. It's not that nothing's happened...maybe it's just that too much is going on. Ever get like that? This was one of "those weeks"--lots of Dad memories (fire was a year ago Friday, his last surgery was a year ago Tuesday, this week a year ago we were living in a hotel and furniture shopping for their new apartment...crazy, huh?). I'm learning that when times like this roll around, I tend to head into my head until things settle down again. Which, in turn, makes it nearly impossible to be productive and happy and all of the things I'd like to be on a daily basis. But, here I am on the other side. Hope I stick the landing...

On a lighter note, a year ago this week I was working to finish a big Region 4 project and spending lots of time in the hotel room on my laptop. I finally bit the bullet, sitting there, and joined Facebook. I got a lot of flak for my first profile picture since it was turned the wrong way (thanks, Keely, for pointing it out...repeatedly!), so I snapped a pic in Photobooth. I loved this picture!

Last Sunday we met Nana, Dan & Celena for lunch. We went to Cypress Station, which we've been meaning to try for forever. It was a really great restaurant--we'll definitely go back! Afterwards, we went over to Target (of course), and there was a Wii Fit tent in the parking lot. We decided to go check it out, and they were giving away $15 Target gift cards just for playing a Wii Fit game. Isn't that cool? We took our $30 like giddy little schoolgirls and skipped into the store. Since it was free money, we decided to buy something we wanted but didn't need. But...then we walked by and they had a fun Julius bathing suit in Kayci's size, and since they go so fast, we decided to grab it. And then they had Noble's suits and rash guards out, so we picked that up, too (rash guards sold out FAST last year!). So, not exactly what we'd envisioned but it was fun to have money to play with (we probably wouldn't have ponied up the $30 for bathing suits this week...and regretted it next month when we were ready to buy them and they were gone). Oh, Target. What would we do without you?? You bring us such joy...and great stuff. I've been meaning to talk to you about the dollar spot, though--does it seem like they're paring it waaaaaaaaaaaaay down, or is it just me? Worrisome!

Monday I had a big day--messed up on my schedule and ended up accidentally spending the whole morning at the gym. Long story. But good workouts--all freakin' 3 of them. And yes, I hurt on Tuesday. A lot. It messed up my schedule, since I had to be in Houston that afternoon for a meeting. So anyway, after the marathon morning I ran into WalMart to grab something I needed for dinner...and they were marking down their toy clearance. I was SHOCKED at the stuff they had for $1, $2, $3...suffice to say, Noble's birthday presents are bought...along with every other kid we know for the next year. Seriously--crazy, crazy good deals. I literally had a cart full of stuff and spent just a little more than our monthly gift allotment. (So worth it!) Yesterday we were talking about it at MOPS, and when I went to go get dog food later I ran into a friend of a MOPS friend with a cart full of Hasbro stride to rides...with her Hasbro printable coupons, they were FREE. This is the thing Mom & Dad bought Noble for Christmas last year...it was hard to find and $25 at the time. Crazy, right?? But good for them--the ladies that coupon like that give a LOT of stuff away to charity...it's really a cool thing that they do. I admire them, but I'm not ready to jump on that bandwagon just yet. I think it could be a big time drain...like Facebook, but with free stuff. :)

What else? It's been a good week around here. I only went to Houston TWICE--down from the last few weeks. Kids are awesome, James is a happy boy (he got a new lens this week for his new personal camera, then yesterday his new Mac arrived at work...he is a SERIOUSLY happy boy!). We've been lucky to spend quite a bit of time with friends this week and this weekend we get to go out to the Bogans' for Addie's birthday...looking forward to that. We'll probably post pictures on our family blog, as it's a dress-up Pirates and Princesses party. Kayci can't wait!

Work is going really well; there's lots of cool stuff on the horizon. I have a to-do list a mile long, so hopefully I'll knuckle down and get stuff done today. After yoga. :) Two weeks ago today, James was home with a messed-up back. He's done a lot better since the shots this fall, but he overdid it at the Conference and was paying the price. His doctor recommended yoga, so we tried it...and he loved it! Now, several years ago when Lauren and I went to yoga almost every day he tried it and did NOT love it, but he was such a gym rat back then I think it was just not enough of a workout for him. :) But it was really good for his back, and once he got over the stretching in a room full of people, he enjoyed it, I think. I enjoyed it so much, I walked right out and signed up to join the gym, which I've been considering for...oh, the almost 4 years we've lived here. I just did it--it's time.

I think that's where my "online" time has gone, to the gym. While that's good in a lot of ways, I'll find a balance so I can still blog. I miss it! I find myself driving, writing blog posts in my head that I'll never publish. Do you do that? I even snapped a picture while I was sitting in traffic Wednesday night of the sea of taillights before me. It was beautiful...and frustrating. 3 hour drive home because of the rain and wrecks, can you believe it? I was grateful, though, that I made it home safely and in time for bedtime stories.

Yesterday was MOPS, which is always fun. I baked mini sopapilla cheesecakes which turned out really well (so much for modest--I loved them!). Last night was Kayci's Daisy Girl Scout meeting, and I baked cupcakes and set out frosting and about a bajillion different sprinkles for them. About 30 seconds into the melee, I realized that I'd made a tactical error, and perhaps "make your own pizza" would have been better. The girls were WIRED and loud and crazy...but it was awesome. This may be our only year in Girl Scouts, the way things are going, so my goal is to have fun and make it memorable for the girls. So far, so good, I think.

Today my agenda is report, yoga, personal trainer, laundry, curriculum, report...work, work, and more work. But it's good stuff. I woke up this morning thinking, one more work day then it's the WEEKEND. I'm looking forward to 2 days with James and the kids. I'm not sure what the kids and I are going to do during the SuperBowl...we might hang out with one of the Dude's families. We'll see. Who knows--maybe we'll have a quiet Sunday evening at home!

Alrighty...time to hop in the shower. Yes, I shower BEFORE I go to the gym. You've seen my hair, right? :)

Hope you have a fun Friday!