30 August 2011

What Was I Thinking?

I went to the store after I dropped the kids off this morning, so proud of myself for having a menu planned for the week.  Then when I got to the store and reviewed my list, I thought, hmm...baked potatoes for dinner tonight.  Sounds great--but since our house was crazy hot until after bedtime last night, I'm thinking having the oven on all afternoon isn't my best idea.  So, shrimp tacos it is!

29 August 2011

Happy Monday

Our new schedule seems to suit all of us.  Noble has a great mix of school and home and church...he's definitely enjoying being in school three days a week (four, last week!).  I am going to enjoy picking him up before lunch on Monday and Tuesday and having time with just the two of us to talk about his day and just...be.  Today was one of those days.  He was tired when I picked him up (he told everyone, apparently!), but in a great mood.  On the way home, we were talking about what our afternoon looked like:  home, lunch, potty, book, nap, carline.

I should probably interrupt myself here and tell you guys that a few months ago, James and I pulled our favorite cartoon books out of storage to share with Kayci, but we haven't gotten around to reading them with her, yet.  Last night the kids were ready for bed fairly early and I knew I was going to be reading for a while, so I pulled one out.  We all laughed out loud several times, and I had to stop a few times and remind them (okay, Noble) that we don't actually call people "poop head" or jump off of cliffs...you know, the normal warnings for kids books.  (?!)

Anyway...after I went through our afternoon plans, Noble told me he wanted to read that book again--you know, the one with the tiger and the wittle man dat makes bad choices.

So we ate lunch...fancy, no?

And read for a bit.  Hopefully you already figured out...we're into "Calvin and Hobbes" right now.  Or "Calvin and Bobs," as Noble says.  I just noticed that in this picture, there's an uncanny resemblance between our heroes.  Heaven help us.

And then we both slept for a while.  I didn't sleep well/much last night, so I stole a little nap, too.  But, in my defense, I did get up and clean the house from top to bottom for James' return, so I don't feel guilty about my nap.  Who am I kidding--I wouldn't feel guilty if the house was still dirty.  :)

Now we've put away all of the laundry, hung Daddy's "welcome home" banner...there's nothing left but to wait for him to get home.

Happy Monday, indeed!

27 August 2011


I think there are plenty of drawbacks to technology today...maybe being connected ALL the time is doing more harm than good.

But then there are times like tonight, when we got to tell Daddy goodnight via FaceTime.

Noble wrote him a note on the iPad while we talked,

and Kayci enjoyed seeing all of us onscreen.

And me? I was just feeling so blessed to see my beautiful Boy with my own two eyes. Good night, Boy. I'm loving you big, and missing you almost as big!

23 August 2011

Day Two...

...not so easy-breezy this morning as day one.  Fatal error?  Breakfast first.  Too much of a slowdown, totally ruined everyone's momentum.  Except Kayci--she was on it today.  :)

As for me, work is about done for a while, have some PTO stuff to do, a couple of errands to run...suspect it will be time for Noble's carline before I know it.

Speaking of, guess who is at his very first chapel right now?  How exciting!


...Great Grandma Curtis is in the hospital.  Please pray for her and the family--hoping she bounces back FAST!

...Melissa is thirtysomething!  And still older than me, thank God. :)

...8 years ago, we lost Grandma.  And you know, for the first time, I'm not overwhelmed by sadness today, but just feel so grateful that I had her in my life for 28 years.  She was my cheerleader, which is funny if you knew her.  She wasn't all sweetness and light, but she loved me unconditionally--all kids need that, and those of us who are lucky realize we've got it.  :)

22 August 2011

First Day...

The first day of school...the first morning.  Everything went well, even though Kayci was more nervous than she expected to be.  She did well.  He did well.  

As for me?  Well...I'll be okay.

It's tough to be the Mommy sometimes, and to let go so they can grow.


Here are the "real" pictures:  http://ipharaon.blogspot.com/2011/08/first-day-of-school-2011-12.html

Oh, and for those of you who are into teacher appreciation:  we took their "happy new year" gifts to their teachers to their Open Houses last week.  Kayci's teachers got pencil bouquets, and Noble's got calculators with the Tip Junkie printable from last week.  :)

18 August 2011

Out of the Mouths of Babes...

Noble is up extra early this morning.  In fact, he woke ME up when he came in to tell me coffee was ready.  :)  After a while he wandered back into the bedroom where I was having quiet time.  He asked what I was doing...writing down my prayers in a journal.  He thought that was interesting, and wanted to pray, too.  So I asked what he wanted to pray for this morning.

Hmm...a new toy.  

Bubby, God isn't Santa Claus.  When we pray, let's not worry so much about getting things--let's thank Him for what we have or talk to him about what we're worried about.  We can ask Him to let this be a good day, help us make good choices...

...I was just getting warmed up when my little mohawked man looked up at me with those brown eyes that get me every time,  and he reminded me, as if I were the one who needed teaching:

BUT, He can do ANYTHING He wants to do.  

Oh.  Yes, Bubby, he can--you're exactly right.  


15 August 2011


It's the beginning of a new school year.  For me, even more than January 1st, this is a time when I start examining habits and looking for ways to make positive changes.  (I apologize in advance for the blog posts that will surely follow on these topics!)

One thing that's been on my mind this summer is the amount of TV we've been watching...the kids have been watching every day, pretty much, and that's unusual around here.  Ahem.  We'd *like* for that to be the exception, not the rule, but it's become the rule this summer.  And don't get me started on how much time James and I spend plugged in, with our phones in our hands, texting, checking facebook, e-mailing, just looking at stuff.  I'm all for technology, but not when we get lazy like this and let it get in the way of actually doing things, spending time with each other, etc.

So last Sunday, we unplugged.  All of us, all day.  It was great!  After the initial "I want to watch sumping!" Noble got it and was happy to play or hang out with us.  This week we did the same thing...and after asking once when he woke up, that was it.  We spent a little time playing a game after dinner, when normally we would have watched TV--and lately, the dining room table has been covered with my work and PTO stuff, so a lot of meals have been in front of the TV.  Yikes!

Kayci just made it all worthwhile...on the way back from the grocery store, she remarked how much she enjoyed yesterday.  You could tell she was kind of thinking it through as she was talking, because she'd say something, stop and think, say something...anyway, the end of the story is that she likes our unplugged days because we get more family time together.  It's kind of sad that there's THAT big of a difference, but there totally is.

So that's the first habit we're working on:  unplugging.

12 August 2011

Losing my Narbles

Ah, the end of summer is here...right about the time I completely lose my patience, it's time to start a new school year and get back into routine.  (Hooray!)  I'm in the middle of a really awesome Bible study right now about parenting and discipline, just in the nick of time.  The past few weeks I've been raising my voice...oh, you're family...I've been yelling at the kids because they've just quit following directions the first time.  And did I mention I'm out of patience, so I pretty much give a direction and then freak out if they haven't carried it out before I take a breath?  Yep, not my finest moments this summer.

I was totally going to blog about how we're working on discipline with Noble, but I'm guessing God wanted me to tell the truth tonight, and this is what came out instead.  :)  In the spirit of full disclosure, this also started out as a family blog and then I realized it's more about me and my shortcomings, so I moved it over here.

One of the things that frustrates me is that as a teacher, I was a LOT more patient and creative when it came to behavior.  With my kids, I want a quick fix--but yelling isn't a fix, and when I'm being really honest with myself I want my kids to be a better parent than I've been lately.  So we went back to basics and did the ol' happy/sad marble jars this week.  (Because I can be slick sometime, we made the "prize" for filling the happy jar a trip to McDonald's, because we've also gotten into some bad eating habits this summer and we need to back off the junk food.)

Noble responded really well to the "narble" idea, and I haven't had to tell him more than once this week to get dressed or brush his teeth or clean up!  Of course we let Kayci earn marbles, too, but I had a private talk with her about how I would give Noble more marbles for little things to encourage him to follow directions the first time, and she would earn marbles for going above and beyond, doing things without being asked.  I really wanted Noble to feel successful, so I used a smallish happy jar this week, thinking they could fill it in a week.  Today they did it, so we let him have McDonald's for dinner!  He whined a bit when I emptied the jar and got a bigger one to start fresh, but he'll get the hang of it.

Oh!  Yesterday we had one of those moments when I thought, finally, he GETS it!  He pooped in his underwear during Bible study (sorry, that's what happened..."had an accident" doesn't really cover it!)  and there was nothing wrong with him, he just didn't want to take time to go potty.  So, I told him when we got home he needed to move a marble to the sad jar.  We came home and he went right to the table and when he pulled a marble out of happy to move to sad, he said, "Mommy, I made more bad choices at MOPS church."  He pulled a second marble out and put them both in the sad jar.  I tried not to make a big deal out of it, so I calmly asked, "what bad choices did you make?"  He said "I pooped and I was fighting, so I have two sad marbles."  And that's when discipline does the trick and becomes self-discipline, even if only for a moment...it's moments like that that keep us going, keep us doing the hard things.

Now say a prayer I can keep it together and not lose my narbles as I head back to work next week!

Dance Lessons

Last night we had the opportunity to take a free dance lesson at church.  As we danced, I was struck by how much dancing is like marriage.  James has to lead--and I have to be in tune with him to be ready and know which way he's going to take us.  We definitely can't both lead--we just end up at a dead stop.  We can't look down at our feet...that will make us stumble.  And we can't keep our eyes on the other couples, or we'll get out of step.  We just have to hold on to each other, keep the beat, and keep moving.  Once we get going, we can do some spins and turns and fancier stuff...and when we're really in sync, we can do that stuff without missing a step.  There are times when we turn and he goes backward for a while and it might look like I'm leading, but I'm really still following his lead.  And that's okay.  When we were younger I really struggled with dancing because (shocking) it was hard for me to just FOLLOW his lead.  Last night I realized that I've changed a lot in the past few years, and I get it now.  And we danced better last night than we probably ever have.

That was a pretty awesome free marriage counseling session we had.  It's like John Michael Montgomery sings, "life's a dance you learn as you go..."

09 August 2011

Window Day

Yesterday morning James asked me what my day looked like, as he always does.  At the time I wasn't feeling great (the kids and I are fighting either a cold or allergies), so I was honest and told him I wasn't sure.  While I was working on baby shower stuff last weekend (the 30th last weekend), I had a paint blow-out and got red paint all. over. one of my white dining room curtains.  And my Grandma's tablecloth (my bad on that one, should have taken  it off before crafting).  Taking down the curtains to wash is a pretty big ordeal, so I only do it twice a year--spring and fall.  Even the year that Noble got gingerbread hands all over the dining room curtains, the brown handprint stayed until spring.  Classy, no?  But I digress.  We took down the painted curtain that night and washed it immediately...then just draped it over the rod thinking I'd wash the other panel and rehang them both at the same time.  And then I got busy with work and the baby shower and life...and it sat for a week.

Yesterday the kids and I declared it pajama day (probably the second and last of the summer, sniff!).  I think Kayci thought that meant we could all take it easy and work on feeling better, but I just couldn't walk by the dining room curtains one more time.  So, I got out the allen wrench and got to work and took down the other panel to wash.  And since I was doing that, I took down the living room curtains.  And our bedroom curtains.  I soaked them all in bleach water for a while, then washed them all and dried them a bit before I started ironing them.  10 panels...what was I thinking?  While all of this was going on, I washed all of the windows and cleaned windowsills (even the yucky ones behind the living room dresser...don't get me started on the nastiness I found behind that piece of furniture).  I pulled out our bed to get to the windows and cleaned out a ton of dust and Kristi hair (with wood floors, I have to keep up with cleaning under our bed...tons of dust bunnies.  Yuck!).  It was pretty satisfying, I have to admit.  I even washed and ironed the little cafe curtain in the kitchen, and washed the blinds (not satisfying...bleck).  I'm not gonna lie...I ironed for almost three hours during the kids' nap and I had to take a break.  I'm out of ironing shape!

You know where this is going, right?  When I took down the kitchen blinds, I noticed a wasps' nest in between the screen and window.  I took a picture and texted it to my Boy--yikes!--and we texted back and forth...the screen had to come off, ASAP.  Which led us to agree that we'd bite the bullet and take ALL of the screens off and wash outside windows.  The embarrassing thing is, we haven't washed our outside windows since before Ike...when James screwed the screens into the window frames.  Yep.  Our outside windows were GRIMY.

After dinner we all went outside and got to work.  It was nasty but satisfying, and it felt good to go to bed last night with clean windows, curtains and windowsills.

Why did I just spend all that time talking about it?  I have no idea...guess I'm dodging work.  Think it's time to bite THAT bullet.  :)  Have a terrific Tuesday!

08 August 2011

Jackson's Shower Theme

This weekend we had Jackson's shower.  I apologize to anyone who missed it--I incorrectly assumed that we should call if we cancelled it, not if we stuck to the plan.  :(  I know this happened to 3 people we really would have liked to see there, and I'm sorry, girls!

One of my favorite parts of any party is tying it all together with a common theme.  In this case, it was transportation (because his nursery is based on the Plaidsportation fabrics), and then we used Lynn's favorite bright colors as a unifying element.

I apologize in advance...these are phone pictures taken as we did stuff, and then some of the pictures at the shower are dark.  But you get the idea--I just wanted to show y'all what fun we had with the theme!  Because it's Lynn, and I've had a lot of years of being spoiled by her, I wanted everything to be super cute and perfect for her.  (Not perfect...but perfect for Lynn!)  I think we did a pretty good job.  :)

This is a good time to mention that Lynn's favorite color is red, and she prefers black backgrounds to white.  Try it sometime--colors just POP! off of a black background, and everything looks a little nicer!  And she LOVES polka dots and stripes together, which is a big part of her nursery fabrics, too.  So, that was our starting point.

This is just a little glimpse of Lynn's shower so you can see the theme-y stuff.  It was a beautiful party--Elizabeth and Ashley outdid themselves on the food, and Aunt Alice's punch was a*mazing.  I told Debbie (Lynn's mother-in-law) that I'll definitely be calling on them next time I host a party...they've got it down to a science!

Invitations are important, I think...they should set the tone for the party.  I think the invitations should be just as awesome as the party, and vice versa.

There are so many opinions on including registry information.  Sigh.  We didn't put it on the invite, but felt it was important to put it in the envelope AND carry on with the theme.  I had to go with a white background because we printed those ourselves, but I was okay with that because James' car was so cool. Lynn's sister-in-law gave us "honk, honk! vroom, vroom!  let's fill up Jackson's room!"...it was super cute!

Diaper cake...I'm sure James could have taken better pictures, but you get the idea.  We used this as a game at the shower, but I wanted it to be cute enough to live in his nursery, too.  This is the first time I've ever put the baby's name on the cake, and I think I like it.

Favors...this was a tough one, because I wanted them to be so fun for Lynn!  At first we talked about car-shaped sugar cookies, but when time got short I was thinking that it would be better to have something we could do a couple days ahead of time.  (Thank goodness we opted out of the cookies--we would have been up all night Friday!)  When we went to Kansas a while back, I saw moon pies at Cracker Barrel (it's an inside joke with Lynn) and thought we'd go with them and put something on there like, "We're wheely glad you could come celebrate Jackson!"...but I couldn't get really excited about it.  Then last week when I was really starting to get grumpy with myself over favors, I saw these ding dong-type cakes at Walmart and thought...that's it!  But, alas, when I put together what I saw in my head, it was okay, but not okay enough.  Sigh.  (Note to self:  great tires for monster-truck theme, James said!)  I sat down with my Boy to talk through the favors, the ideas we'd had and what I wanted them to be for Lynn.  He said if we were going with "fill up Jackson's room," why not fill up the windows of the car with colorful candies?  Bingo...that was it!  I *finally* learned how to use the print & cut feature on my Silhouette, and I'm so happy with the finished product!  The key was specialty-sized ziplocs, if you're as anal detail-oriented as I am.

Lynn and I couldn't narrow it down, so some had Skittles and some had M&Ms, but they were all cute and bright!  We put them in a fun polka-dot serving tray and had one of the little girls pass them out at the shower.

I didn't get a good picture of this hanging up at the shower, but here's the banner in progress.  Did I mention how much I love, love my Silhouette?   Those colors just jump out and make you smile, don't they?

We hung the banner in the doorway between the party room and where we were serving food, but I didn't get a good picture of it.  Oh, well!

I made these for a second banner, but used them around as decorations, instead.  Again, loving the brights and black!

Games are always fun, I don't care what people say!  Sometimes people have a hard time knowing what to do with game prizes, so we made it easy this time.  The red bags had fun stuff Liz picked up for Jackson (nail clippers, medicine spoons, all kinds of stuff) and we gave each winner a red bag with a "for Jackson" tag, so there was no mistaking that it was for them...

...and an Almond Joy to keep with a tag that said "what a joy to celebrate Lynn's little boy!"

I hope you get some ideas for your next party...see how much you can do with just paper??

Car-Themed Baby Gifts

I've always loved theme-y gifts (you know, a bathtub full of towels, washcloths, baby wash, lotion, etc.) or gifts that have special meaning.  In my old age, though, I've found that what I enjoy even more is taking one of those ideas and making a gift.  We bought Jackson's "big" gift, but then I made a couple of things we thought Lynn & David would really enjoy having.  :)

Lynn really wanted the sticky belly monthly stickers.  For one of her gifts we put 12 onesies in a box we decorated to match his nursery...the top says "celebrating Jackson's first year" and the vehicles going around the box say "January...February..." you get it.  BUT...of course I ordered the stickers too late, from a lady in Canada...so it was just a box of onesies.  Whoops!  A note:  just for a little flair, I tied each onesie with a colored ribbon.  It was a little thing that had a big impact, I think.

We thought it would be fun to do a picture frame where Lynn & David can put Jackson's monthly pics, so we cut out pictures of his onesie stickers and put them around the frame as place-holders during the year.  I hope this comes out cute, as I think it may be my go-to baby shower gift from here out!

One last picture...I have had "car bags" for both of my kids with extra clothes, diapers, wipes, etc. since Kayci was teeny tiny.  We wanted one for Jackson, but I couldn't find one cute enough for Lynn, so I made one.  This looked so cute with my kids' gifts inside...we used it as a gift bag just by tying ribbons and a teether to the handles.  :)

05 August 2011

Monkey See...

...monkey do.

Case in point:  right after we were playing around and snapped these pictures, Noble did something and Kayci started griping at him.  So I said, "WHY, WHY would you speak to him in that tone of voice?!"

And before she could answer, I heard it...and I answered my own question:  "because I speak to you guys like that."

The truth hurts, man.  I'd like to say that since I realized it I've been the picture of patience and grace, but not so much--we took Noble furniture shopping today about 2 hours after he should have had a nap, so you can imagine how that went.  Sigh.

So much on my mind, so many truths revealed all at once...so far to go.

02 August 2011


James trusts me to take care of lots of things, and our medical stuff falls in that category.  This spring, Kayci and I had eye exams and got glasses and contacts, respectively.  I was waiting and waiting and waiting for the reimbursements to come...nothing.  I was getting huffy.  Where was our money?!  So I called and "took care of it."

Finally, a reimbursement came.  And it was a FRACTION of what I was expecting, and had told James we were "due."    And I was very frustrated by that, and even more so by the fact that the second reimbursement never came in.  I was seriously holding a grudge against those folks.  (But, of course, I've been too busy to make the phone calls...sound familiar?)

James asked me about it this morning and I said, I'll put that on my to-do list for today--I'll take care of it, Boy!  And I did.  Here's how that call went?

Question question question, slightly condescending tone on my part...

Answer I wasn't expecting...

What's that?  Ohhhhh.  Really?  Humbled tone now...


Okay.  Thanks!

Turns out, I had it all wrong.  Whoops.  The good news?  The way it is is the way we wanted it to be, but didn't remember changing it to.  (Horrible grammar, you follow?)

The other good news is, as dumb as I feel and yes, disappointed that no miracle check will be showing up, the other good news is I *also* asked a dental question I have been putting off for too long to admit here, then promptly hung up and made appointments for the kids to go to the dentist.  (Okay, okay, quit badgering me:  Noble has NEVER been to the dentist.  Ever.  And Kayci hasn't been in at least 2 years.  I know, I know, and I'm normally so anal about that stuff!)  As of today, the kids have a local dentist, no more driving to Houston and making appointments 6 months-a year in advance (although, in her defense, our Houston pediatric dentist was totally worth it!).

So there's the silver lining.

But I'm still feeling humbled by my straight-up stupidity.  Sorry, Boy-o.

01 August 2011

Hello, August!

It's that time again...time to dust off those lunchboxes and get ready for the first day of school.  I'm tempted to say the usual things one says on the first day of August, like, "where did the summer go?" But I won't--I know exactly where the summer went.  We've enjoyed it one day at a time.  :)  And for the first time in a long time, it feels like we HAD a summer.  Sure, it was busy enough that we haven't seen most of the friends we wanted to see...but there was also a lot of downtime at home for the kids and me, and that was a nice change.  So, I won't complain.  Yet...

We had a great time while James was on vacation, but yesterday was the last hurrah.  Slowly but surely, over the past week, our household has switched over from full-on summer celebrating to getting ready to head back to school.  Saturday, we went school supply shopping (ouch!), and yesterday Kayci did some school clothes shopping online. I'm trying not to be said that my big girl is going into 3rd grade (already?!) and Noble is heading into his 3 year old year (only 2 more years until kindergarten?!).  Time has just flown by these past few years.  Is that happening at your house, too?  

One big change around our house this summer has been our sleeping schedule...we have ALL been staying up way too late and then, thankfully, sleeping later in the mornings.  Since I haven't been getting up early for course checks the past two weeks, I am absolutely spoiled.  But today is the day we start bringing our routine back...I got up at 5:30 (not crazy early for me, but early enough that it hurt a little!) and we'll start bedtime a little earlier tonight.  It's time to look at our list of Kayci's birthday activities and figure out what we'll do for each of the next few weeks, and it's time to put together my August work schedule.  We'll see where today takes us...Noble was pretty coughy and snotty yesterday, but it got WAY worse while we were out fishing so I'm hoping it's just allergies.  We'll see--today might be a quiet day, and that would be okay.  

Anyway, hi, August.  I'm glad you're here, I can honestly say.  But could you slow down and stay awhile...let's not rush, 'kay?