30 June 2012

It's tough being the little brother...

Kayci had a birthday slumber party, and Noble was in little boy heaven. All those cute girls...he quickly attached himself to his 2 favorites and ate only what they ate, drank only what they drank...cute. Annoying, I'm sure, but cute. :) This morning the girls wanted a girls-only breakfast in the tree house. To avoid hurting Bubby's feelings, we came up with a plan and told him they needed privacy to plan a surprise for him.


27 June 2012

Corn Day!

I know my roots aren't technically Kansas roots (I'm Texas born and bred), but after a lifetime of summers and vacations there, Kansas feels like home.  Our Kansas ties are part of the reason James and I felt so drawn to life in a small town.  And I can honestly say, 6 years later, that we haven't regretted this small town once.

This past weekend we got to experience something that could only happen in a rural community like this--Corn Day!  Let me back up a bit and tell you about the people involved.  The Menkes are a family at church.  He's a gifted musician (fiddler, Texans), and he and his wife dance like Aggie Wranglers.  They have two kids, a boy a year older than Kayci and a girl 2 years older than Noble, and our kids get along great.  They're one of those families we SEE all the time at church and church events, and we always enjoy visiting with them, but we hadn't had the opportunity to really hang out with them.

Well, a couple weeks ago Jan mentioned a yearly thing they do called "Corn Day."  That's what it literally is.  Corn doesn't care when you go on vacation or what you'd rather be doing--when it's ready, it's ready.  And if you don't harvest...well, it's all for naught.  So, when the corn calls, they answer and put out a call for volunteers to come out for Corn Day.

So, we did.  Last Friday morning the kids and I headed out to the Menke's farm.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but we had a BLAST.  In fact, we'd planned to leave after lunch but we were having so much fun we didn't get home until after 5!

What's Corn Day, you say?  Well, for Mommy, it's an opportunity to sit and visit and work.  For kids, it's an opportunity to explore and play and have freedom like we only have out with our country friends and Kansas family.  :)

Matthew had harvested about half the corn field before we arrived, so we had plenty to work with.  The kids wanted a chance to pick some, too, so Howard and Maggie took them out and showed them how it works.  (Last night we had grilled corn and Noble was SO proud that it was corn "he" picked.)

Kayci had fun helping out, too...here she is moving corn for the cutters.

The steps:
1.  Pick the corn.
2.  Whack off the top & bottom of the corn.
3.  Let kids pick out worms & caterpillars to name and play with for the rest of the day.  And possibly set free inside the Menkes' house.
4.  Shuck the corn.
5.  Silk the corn.
6.  On this particular day, we then creamed the corn.
7.  Bag & freeze the creamed corn.
8.  Eat the corn!

Creaming the corn was sticky and messy, but so satisfying!

Noble was EXHAUSTED after all that fun.  :)

That was Friday.  It was so much fun, we wanted to go back out when Daddy could go with us, so the Menkes invited us out for Corn Day, Part 2 on Sunday!  This time we just picked and cut the corn for freezing whole...but it was a great afternoon.

Thanks to the Menke family for hosting us, and feeding us, and spoiling us with TONS of corn!!  We'll come back next year if you let us...

25 June 2012

Space Invaders

My friend Jan got a lot of flak from her (wonderful!) husband and my Boy this weekend about cleaning out e-mail, photos, etc.  I didn't laugh, because I get the same lecture from my husband quite often.

In fact, just last week he finally had enough of me complaining about not having enough memory to take pictures--so he cleaned all the photos off my phone and put them on the storage drive for me.  I've been telling him for months that I'll take time to clean up my photos, my contacts, etc...um, nope.  Hasn't happened.

(Like the work I'm supposed to be doing right now--not happening.  Yet.)

I'm pretty efficient like that, friends.

Anyway, after all the ribbing this weekend, I thought I ought to open up the folder of pics from my iphone and take a quick peek.

And I'm hoping James didn't look too closely when he was cleaning that stuff off.  There are probably 50 screen shots of nothing (just me or Noble screwing around), who knows how many movies from Elmo's Monster Maker (that'd be Bubby), about a bajillion random pictures from work, and all sorts of craziness.

Like this one from the fall:

Okay, I haven't been pregnant in YEARS.  I have no clue whose baby this is, but you're on my phone, little friend.  

Perhaps my Boy was right, and it's time to tidy up around here.

Let's just pray he doesn't check out my work e-mail.  (Shh!)

23 June 2012

That Mom

Today the kids and I went to the park for Clara's first birthday party (it was a cute, cute party--well done, Clara's Mommy!).  About an hour after we got there, Noble complained about mosquito bites.  Sure enough, there were some little spots on his leg.  It was hot and I figured that was making the itching worse, so I put cool water on his leg, held his cold Sprite can against it--you know, the silly things you do while you berate yourself for not carrying your bag which holds every kind of on-the-spot remedy known to man.  Anyway, it didn't help.  And new spots kept popping up.  By the time we left 30 minutes later, he had a very dark rash covering most of his body, with blister-y looking welts coming up in huge patches.  It was scary how fast it all came on, so I called the clinic to see about getting him in.  They were closing, and in their defense, they're not an emergency clinic, so I hung up very frustrated.  And a little freaked out--I imagined the worst of course, taking him home, giving him a dose of Benadryl, laying him down for a nap and not realizing he was having trouble breathing...
...so I called James to determine if I was freaking out or behaving rationally.  Without even seeing Noble, he could tell it was serious and agreed that we should go on to St. Joseph's, the new express care clinic in town.  (We'd heard great things about them from a friend, and I really wanted a doctor's opinion about my Bubby.)

I'm glad we went.  The pictures don't really capture the severity of the rash, but in the top one you can see how dark his legs are.  The bottom picture is after the first dose of Benadryl, when things started clearing up immediately.  He's completely clear now (and sleeping well and safely!), but the doctor says it will most likely come back in a few hours.  If it doesn't go away by tomorrow, he'll start Prednasone (sp?), so I hope it doesn't go that far.

Why am I posting such a random thing?  It's hard as a Mom to know when we're overreacting (man, did I want to lay into the clinic nurse who helpfully suggested I take my baby to the ER if, you know, he started having trouble breathing) and when we're looking out for our children.  I don't have any answers after seeing the doctor today, but I have fewer questions and I learned a lot.  We left with the peace of mind that it wasn't moving into his throat and an invitation to call tomorrow if things don't improve.  I have to say, I love the local Clinic and our great doctors there, but I'm glad to have this Express Care in town.  Since, you know, I'm obviously now That Mom.  :)

19 June 2012

24 Day Challenge--Update

Here's the thing:  I have a weight that's my "back to weight."  When I've lost weight in the past 9 years (geez), I always lose enough to get back to my pre-baby weight (I weighed exactly the same at the beginning of both pregnancies)...then I stop.  Even 7 years ago when I talked James into letting me do the Quick Weight Loss program (how could I go wrong??), I got back to that weight, James got the job at Germania and we began a year of eating out and living on the fly...and my weight went right back up, even higher than when I started the program.  I lost that weight with diet pills so I could fit into the dress for Mandy's wedding, then I started having gall bladder issues and eating clean so I kept the weight off until I got pregnant with Noble.  And then I lost weight again a few years ago (remember the 2nd time I tried diet pills?  Geesh.)...and gained some back...then I lost weight when I was working out with a personal trainer and watching my diet (kinda watching my diet)...then I put on weight last school year and just never lost it...and gained a few pounds this year.  Bleh.

The picture below was the best one James was able to get on Easter--while I definitely don't look slim and trim, it's the only one where I didn't look 9 months pregnant.  :/  (James was looking a little puffy, too, if we're being honest).  It was disheartening to see these pictures--but it made us really LOOK at ourselves and how out of control our eating had gotten.  I was eating whatever, whenever...drinking sodas, drinking beer, eating dessert at least once a day if not two or three times...and the sad thing is, life was GOOD.  I was just being LAZY, and didn't stop to realize it.  

A couple weeks later, we went to Ronny & Amy's birthday party and James snapped a few pictures of me.  I was surprised when these popped up on facebook--I honestly didn't realize I looked that bad.

So, when the opportunity came up to do the Advocare 24 day challenge with our yoga teacher, I was ready to jump on it.  In between seeing the pictures from the party and starting the 24 days, James and I each lost 3 pounds (which still put me 10.6 pounds above "that weight").  

Here's how it went down:  for the first 10 days, we took the products as scheduled and ate clean...very clean.  I have to note that I cannot stand artificial sweeteners, so I was struggling with the breakfast shakes and energy drinks.  After the 10 day cleanse, I talked James into going to a greek yogurt smoothie (same protein as the breakfast shake product without artificial sweeteners).  I still felt great and wasn't having trouble being hungry, so that was that. 

Over a couple of days I also realized that I sucked at taking vitamins at set times, so I pretty well gave up on that, too.  But I still had energy and wasn't having trouble with appetite or cravings (that is a God thing, friends--I have been too weak to do this on my own in the past, so I know it must be Him!), so we kept on with eating clean and staying away from the foods we were supposed to stay away from (dairy other than the smoothie, bread/flour, added sugar, artificial sweeteners, etc.).  

We were both discouraged after the 10 day cleanse--I've wanted to do one for the past couple of years but was too chicken, and I really thought there would be this HUGE difference.  I thought we'd lose stomach bloat and a significant amount of weight.  Um, no--both of us were WAY bloaty and uncomfortable most of the time, we assume from the fiber (but could also have been the artificial sweeteners--they just don't like me!).  Once we got off the artificial sweeteners, though, I felt better almost immediately.  But, I still wasn't experiencing the weight loss the other people doing the challenge were--they were already seeing a difference in their clothes.  Me?  Not so much!  

Here's what I'll tell you:  for everyone we know who's taken the products, Advocare WORKS.  I don't mean this to be a testimonial against the products...just walking through what works for me.  We're pro-Advocare, because we've seen amazing results (and lifestyle changes!) in many friends and family members.  :)  

But back to it...after the first 10 days, we started doing Greek yogurt smoothies (with no sugar added frozen fruit and a little milk--we started with orange juice, but it seemed better to add more dairy with milk than sugar with juice) for breakfast every day (with veggie omelets on weekends sometimes--yum!), then salads for lunch and meat & veggies for dinner...we were eating a lot of tuna for lunch, chicken/fish/turkey/pork for dinner.  And I tell you what, those next two weeks we DID notice a huge difference.  Our clothes were fitting differently, we both felt better and had lots of energy...we were very encouraged.  We stuck to the clean diet, with nuts or fruit for snacks (neither of us is good at stopping to snack during the day, when we need to...but at night we LOVE to snack while we watch something together.  This has been a big challenge, but we're sticking to the nuts or nothing at night!).

I will say this, too...after the initial 10-day cleanse, we decided that if we were at a birthday party, we'd have a small piece of cake but not overdo it, etc.  I didn't want to be that guy at parties who's like, nope, none for me.  Seriously, y'all, every hostess HATES that guy.  Our thought is that if this is going to be true, lasting change, we have to be able to eat clean at home and splurge every now and again.  And so far, it's working (see the P.S.--mostly working!).  At the end of the 24 days, we were each down 11 pounds, and I'd lost 10.75 inches.  If you haven't seen him, James looks great--he looks like himself again!  Having a belly just isn't natural for him.  :)  

I wore the dress I wore to Ronny & Amy's party this weekend, and I meant to have James snap a picture of me but I forgot.  So, at the end of the day (post-makeup and hair), I remembered.  You can see some difference.  It's not drastic, but I feel a lot better in my clothes and I'm just a little less puffy all over.  It's a start!

P.S...while we were at Garner last weekend, we fell off the wagon.  Like, beer & s'mores each night (for me, James didn't go for the sweets), tortillas & Julio's, we even tried a couple of Cokes (couldn't even drink my favorite, Mexican Coke--thanking God that craving is gone!)...then we got home and the cravings came with us.  All last week I craved sweets and bread.  :/  We got out of the salad for lunch habit, too...not that we ate badly, just differently.  Then Thursday night we had Smashburger (chipotle buns!), Friday we had salmon burgers at home (with buns), Saturday we had frozen yogurt to celebrate Kayci's birthday, then ice cream at the ice cream social...you see how it sort of spiraled.  Yesterday was Kayci's birthday so we had pizza AND ice cream AND pasta AND bread AND a small piece of birthday cake...it's kind of sickening to read, but honestly, this is still better than I was eating before the 24 day challenge.  Before the 24 days, I was drinking a LOT of calories, between Cokes, juices, beer and wine...and yep, I was having sweets several times a day.  Jeepers!  So, today we're back ON the wagon--salad for lunch, clean dinner.  Wish us luck!  We've made a little progress, but I have a LOOOOOOOOOONG way to go before I'm healthy again!

18 June 2012

9 years ago tonight...

...from Daddy's perspective.  He wrote this while we were in the hospital that night.  I wanted to track this down to share with Kayci today.  :)  Happy Father's Day a little late, Boy-o, and Happy Birthday, Bitty--I love you both bigger than the world.

Kayci Journal 6-18-03

So we went in to Dr. Thompson’s office this afternoon at 3pm for our final prenatal appointment.  After sitting in the little room for what seemed like three hours (it was actually on two and a half), Dr. Thompson came in to see us.  She did her thing down there under the sheet and said that Kristi was 3cm dilated.  Cool.  But she was concerned because Kayci hasn’t been very active the last couple of days and there was something about a lack of membranes. 

Then all of a sudden an ultrasound machine appeared.  Dr. Thompson looked inside and said that there wasn’t much fluid left in there and that there might be a slow leak.  She couldn’t tell much so she decided to send us over to the hospital to monitor Kayci’s heartbeat and to do a more precise ultrasound.

So we went over to the hospital and they hooked Kristi up to some machines.  It was like a little baby seismograph.  We watched Kayci’s heartbeat and Kristi have some little contractions.  The best part was that we got to watch VH1.

Then we went down to Radiology and they looked around with the ultrasound.  This ultrasound was nothing like the last one in February.  No real baby parts- just lots of blobby things.  That’s not exactly true.  We did see her hand clutching her little foot, which was still right in front of her face.  In fact, it was so much in front of her face that we couldn’t get a good look at her face.

So the radiologist called Dr. Thompson, and she decided that it would be best for Kayci to be born tonight due to the lack of fluid in the uterus.


It’s actually kind of weird because in the baby journal on today’s date there’s a little picture of a ladybug.  We joked about how ironic it would be if she were born today because of that.  Also, it’s Kristi’s half-birthday.  Today is the day that she always wished was her birthday growing up and now it looks as if Kayci will have that birthday.

The next several hours are really a blur.  It seems like only about 15 minutes, but as I’m writing this, Kayci is four hours old and it’s almost two in the morning.

The nurses took Kristi off for her epidural and I stayed in a little room to watch TV.  They gave me some paper scrubs to wear, which was cool.  I looked just like a really frugal doctor.  I could almost feel my net worth increase as I put the scrubs on.  Anyway, they told me that the epidural would take about 20-30 minutes and that they would come and get me when I was time.  I had time to watch a whole hour long documentary on Garth Brooks while I waited.  I went out to the waiting room at one point to talk to my dad and Kristi’s parents and I honestly thought, “well hell… I missed it.  They probably came to get me and I wasn’t there.  They’re probably delivering Kayci right now and I’m sitting here missing it, learning about Garth Brooks."  As time went by, I started to get really nervous.  Finally a nurse came down and got me.  It was time!  I only remember being flustered.  In fact, I was so flustered and shaky the entire evening that I was having trouble speaking in complete sentences.  I’m glad the parking attendant spoke Neanderthal because I basically just pointed and grunted.  

Being there in the delivery room was a really strange experience.  I walked in and there was Kristi, lying on the operating table with lots of doctor-type people all around her, including one guy sitting behind a big computer and the machine that goes “BING!”  It was really weird because no one gave me any instruction at all- not where to stand, not when to take pictures, not to quit playing with the scalpels- nothing.  So I just stood there next to Kristi’s head because that’s where the Daddy stood in the video we watched in childbirth class.  Kristi was really drugged up, but she was very happy- her eyes showed it.  I just hoped I didn’t pass out halfway through.

I watched as the made the incision, opened up Kristi’s belly, pried the muscles apart and opened the uterus.  I was told that I wouldn’t be able to see any of that, but from where I was, I got a pretty good look at just about everything.  Birthing babies is messy business.  Pretty soon they reached inside and pulled out this little white gooey thing.  It took me a second to realize that was my baby’s little feet and bottom.  They left her head inside for a second or two while they prepared to suction the stuff out of her.  I started clicking pictures because nobody told me I couldn’t.  When they finally pulled Kayci out, she was this little wrinkled up white thing covered in what looked like cream cheese.  She kinda looked like E.T. when he got sick in the bottom of the creek bed.  For a long moment, Kayci didn’t make a sound.  I’m sure my heart skipped and I know I didn’t breathe.  Then, all of a sudden, she started crying- strike that- screaming.  It was the sweetest sound I had ever heard in my life.  I was listening to her little voice- that sweet little voice I had been imagining for the past nine months.  I’m sure I was grinning like an idiot.  I vaguely remember touching Kristi and stroking her hair and feeling a lump in my throat.  I didn’t cry!

They moved Kayci immediately over to a small table where they began cleaning her up and suctioning her out.  She was still crying very hard and I followed the nurses over to the table to watch.  That’s when the most amazing moment of my life happened.  It was like a religious experience and it’s when I felt like a Daddy for the first time.  I bent down and looked over her.  The nurses were talking to her and trying to quiet her and reassure her.  I said her name and then told her hello and introduced myself.  She immediately stopped crying, like someone turned off a switch, and just lay on the table looking up at me. She recognized my voice!  All that talking to the belly and reading stories had suddenly paid off in one beautiful moment that just hung there in time. So I kept talking, and she kept listening.  That went on for about twenty seconds until one of the nurses stuck a tube down her throat to suction more gunk out.  Even Daddy’s voice was no match for that.  That’s about the time I remembered that my camera took MPEG movies, so I started shooting.  That piece is on the video page.

Watching her those first few minutes were truly amazing.  I remembered to look over at Kristi, but when I did that had her uterus out and were looking it over, so I didn’t bother looking back any more.  I turned all my attention to Kayci.  They “pinked her up,” took her footprints and other stuff that I don’t really remember.  There was just a flurry of activity.  One thing that I remember clearly is that Kayci had her first pee and poop right there on the table, just four or five minutes old.  I was so proud of her.

They finally moved Kayci and let her lay on top of Kristi.  Kristi’s hands were numb and she was upset that she couldn’t feel Kayci, but they lay there looking at each other for a couple of minutes.  I got some good pictures of it. Then they whisked Kayci off and told me to come along- we were going to the nursery.  In the hallway I walked next to the cart, talking to her as we walked.  She wasn’t crying by this point, just looking up with big bright eyes and sticking her tongue out at me.  When we got to the elevator outside the waiting room, my dad was the first one out, followed by Kristi’s dad and then the slowpokes.  They all oohed and aahed until the elevator came and we went upstairs to the nursery.  I wasn’t allowed to go into the nursery, but we all watched through the window as they weighed her and took blood and gave her a bottle.  Her little legs looked like a frog’s- up around her head and out to the side.  She had some big feet and long toes; monkey toes like mine.  Her hair looked dark, but it was wet and there was a lot of gloopy stuff in it, so it was tough to tell what color it actually was.  We all stood there and watched her.  I just stood there, looking at my baby- my daughter.  That lasted about three hours.

Meanwhile, Kristi was in a recovery room.  Her epidural was taking a long time to wear off, so they had to monitor her and keep her warm.  I checked in on her and gave her updates on Kayci.  Having a digital camera and video camera came in really handy that night because I could show Kristi video and pictures of Kayci and what was happening to her.  It was killing her, not being able to see Kayci, and I felt bad too.

We finally went to a room around one-o-clock in the morning.  There were no private rooms available, so we had to share a room with a woman who was sleeping very soundly.  At almost 3am, they finally brought Kayci to our room.  We held her and loved on her and looked at her and loved every second of it.   When you don’t have a private room, no one but Mommy may stay the night.  Kayci had been in the room about twenty minutes when one of the nurses came in and told me I would have to leave and tried to enforce the no “sleep-over” policy.  That made my blood boil and I was pretty ugly to her.  She left and didn’t press the issue again.  After about an hour we sent Kayci back to the nursery so that we could try to get some sleep.  It was 4am, and everyone was exhausted.  Kristi slept in her room and I curled up on the couch down in the waiting room.  It was cold, and I had forgotten to pack any jeans.  I was so tired that it didn’t bother me much.  I slept for about three hours and went back upstairs.

Before long, the nurse brought Kayci back to nurse.  After she did, she went to sleep and Kristi was still very tired and went to sleep also.  So I held Kayci against my chest for over an hour.  She was so cuddly it amazed me.  She wrapped her little legs around my torso and put her head on my shoulder.  As she slept, she sang.  I sang to her and cried.  A flood of emotion swept over me.  It was the best thing I have ever felt- my newborn baby in my arms and just sitting there loving on her.  I was a father now and everything in my life- my perspective on everything- had suddenly shifted and nothing else in the world mattered.

16 June 2012


One of the things I've had on my to-do list for months is a morning checklist of sorts for the kids. Frankly, it makes me pretty grumpy when day after day after day I have to say, "did you make your bed?" or "did you brush your teeth?" When the new Silhouette came last week, I knew this needed to be one of my first big projects. I went to the closet and found a little pocket chart (Target $$ Spot, they usually have them in August). I planned to put this in the kids' room, but then I thought the hall would make a lot more sense. Yesterday I had time to finish, and today is the trial run. Noble, of course, is excited that he can "read" it...and he told me he'll probably need to dust later so he could have another job! :) I envisioned them each having a couple of rows rather than columns, but Kayci set it up and I wanted to honor her choice. I am a willow, as Joe Scruggs says, I can bend!

I can't take credit for the cool design--I downloaded these from Silhouette. The designer had a good set, and I just added the words and a few things specific to our family: piano, AWANA, laundry, lunch & backpack, homework...I think that's it. And their names are in a downloaded tag shape, as well. And that font? Also downloaded from Silhouette. If you have one, I highly recommend the $10 monthly subscription!

11 June 2012

Happy Kids

We had a blast at Garner State Park this weekend!  I suspect James is formulating a blog post, so I'll leave that part to him.  I came across this picture of the knuckleheads and thought it would be fun to share.  I'm so proud of them--this was taken as we drove away from the campsite, and they were just as happy and agreeable as they were when we arrived 48 hours before.  Not that they're perfect, or that nobody griped or whined or disobeyed...but they were awesome considering all of the new things we threw at them while we were there.  AND we made them unplug for 3 days (so did we!)...and they didn't complain once.  We listened to the original "Superman" radio broadcasts for several hours in the truck, and they kept asking for more!  Today is the exact opposite of our active, outdoor weekend...the kids are in their PJs, watching TV.  I think they've earned a lazy day!  :)

07 June 2012

Happy summer!

Today is our 3rd official day of summer (I had to work until Monday).  :)  Our kids have been patiently waiting...Noble's been out of school for over 2 weeks, Kayci for over a week.  Once we drove out of Houston on Monday, the 3 of us were READY for summer, and all that that entails...

We usually celebrate summer with a trip to Chuck E. Cheese's (ahem...now their website says Chuck E. Cheese and the restaurants still say Cheese's...how confusing!).  We went on Tuesday to celebrate our first "real" day of summer.  It was fun...until we realized Daddy & I ate something from the salad bar that was questionable.  Ugh.  I'm glad to say by Wednesday morning I was feeling human again--think we got lucky this time!

Does anyone else love these goofy sketch pictures?  We have a ton of them, and they make me smile!  I love James' joy in the last one...

And of course, to the kids, summer = swimming!  We've enjoyed swimming at the country club this year.  Now that the kids are bigger, they want to swim more than splash, so that's why we switched.  And we get to hang out with the Dallmeyers, so that's a bonus!

We're still working on a summer schedule, you know--the rhythm of the day.  On days when we swim early, the kids end up showering or bathing before lunch, after nap...you just never know when someone's going to be naked around here.  And the bathwater's purple, not gray....just realized that!

Kayci picked up the HEB magazine earlier this week and found several recipes she wanted to try.  Her first attempt at their pasta salad was pretty good...but Mom's spaghetti salad is still better, HEB.  Sorry!

Summer around here means breakfast outside.  Noble wasn't hungry, yet, when Daddy and I ate...but right after, he wanted to take his cereal outside.  He sat there for a good 20 minutes singing to himself and munching away.  It made me smile.  :)

Today was the first day of our new Bible Study at Champion.  I have not been in the Word like I should be...I tend to either be good at quiet time, or be good at being healthy--I haven't done both well in the past.  But, it's time to balance...so I'm ready to get to it.  I love me some Beth Moore, and I have to say that I walked out of the first session a bit stunned--she hit the nail on the head with what James and I are struggling with right now, family-wise.  God's sense of humor?

I was going to share this in a different post, but I think it'll definitely be playing a big role in my summer plans:  look what came in the mail today!  James surprised me by buying this with one of his freelance checks.  He loves me big!  (And I'm so grateful...I cannot WAIT to play with this baby!)

04 June 2012


This post has been running around in my head for over a week.  At first I didn't post because I didn't know how it was going to play out...then I didn't post because it's all just confusing and hard.

Last Saturday was our second session with the dog trainer.  We thought we were working on basic obedience, but the longer Rachael worked with us & Trixie, the more we realized we had some bigger issues.  We were misreading some of her behaviors as protective, but she was actually being aggressive toward James.  (I know, we're ignorant.  Believe me, we feel it.)  Long story short, the trainer left to get a haltie (like a muzzle, but not...Trixie needed a lot more structure than we thought)...she came back with her 2 and 4 year old little girls, and Trixie wouldn't let the kids in the house.  She was growling, hair raised...I had to hold her back.  We regrouped and tried to have the older child approach Trixie, hand out...but Trixie wouldn't back down and it escalated.  Poor James and I still didn't realize what we were dealing with...we thought, oh, crap--we're going to need more training.  But no, that level of aggression is a deal-breaker.  We consulted right then with another dog trainer who agreed that Trixie couldn't be around kids, and then we waited for Tuesday morning (of course it was Memorial Day weekend).  It was a long few days, with Trixie either crated or in the back yard.  James and I took turns walking her and loving on her, but we couldn't let her around the kids.  It's hard to put it all into words, really...I don't want to go into too much detail here because I know Kayci reads my blog.  We consulted two dog trainers, the animal shelter administrator, and our vet, and all four agreed:  an animal that is that aggressive can't be anyone's pet.  So, we took her to the vet on Tuesday afternoon and did the humane thing.

We unknowingly put our kids (and ourselves) in a dangerous situation with an aggressive animal.  If it hadn't been the dog trainer's kids, we might have continued to misread Trixie's behaviors and thought it was unfortunate, but not a big deal.  It was a very big deal, and we're lucky nobody was hurt.  It just doesn't bear thinking about, but you know it runs around and around in my head.

I really thought we were meant to have Trixie, and we were all in on this dog.  I think that's why it's so hard to understand and deal with.  There's so much I'm not explaining well, but that's the gist of it:  we no longer have a Trixie, and we're trying to understand it all.

And PS:  we're so not getting another dog any time soon.

Catching up...

Last Sunday we went for a bike ride.  For the first time on a family ride, Noble rode his own little rocket bike...and rode over 2 miles.  We were amazed!  He did so well!  Afterwards, Daddy surprised the kids by bringing out the remote control car...which didn't last long before someone bent the whatever and that was it.  But it was still fun!  :)

A lady I've worked with a long, long time retired this week--we put a gift card in this fun mason jar of school bus-wrapped hershey nuggets.  Did I mention she was the lady who made sure all of our kiddos got to and from school on the bus okay?  We'll miss her LOTS!
I got the printable here:  http://likeaprettypetunia.blogspot.com/2012/05/bus-driver-appreciation.html.

We were in Houston 3 days last week for work...but it seems like we've been in the car a LOT this past week.  Our gas bill agrees!

Sunday morning, I heard rustling beside the bed...this is what I opened my eyes to.  :)

After working in Houston today, it was nice to come home and just be HOME...at least until the 6:30 PTO meeting.  Daddy came in from work and took the time to sit down and play Star Wars (war) with Noble.  He's the best!

Tomorrow is our first "real" day of summer!  We've got a trip to the library planned, we'll swim (finally going to sign up and pay in the morning!), and tomorrow night is our annual summer trip to Chuck E. Cheese's.  Noble can't wait--he wants to know what minute we're going to Chuck E. Cheese's.  Kayci's most excited about the swimming pool.  And me?  I'm just glad to be in Brenham, and to be able to focus on my family for a while.  :)  I still have work to do, but now I get to slip into Mommy mode!

Congratulations, Keely!

Our oldest niece graduated from High School this weekend.  I tell ya, we couldn't love that kid more if she was our own!  Keely has grown into a gorgeous young lady with a spirit and drive that will take her as far as her dreams...she's awesome!

James didn't get to go with us, and that was the only downside of the whole day.  Here are a few pics from my phone, and some I stole from Keely's facebook...

Here's the procession...Keely's actually up on the stage.  She was a class officer, so she got to kick off the program and say the pledge (nailed it!).  :)  I knew it was her because of the blue shoes!

Graduations are long...even longer when you're 4.  We made funny gum teeth, he ate 4 packs of fruit snacks, Pez...anything to keep him happy and quiet!

The blue shoes turned out to be a life lesson...they're great shoes, but not made for walking.  (Lesson learned:  girls, carry a pair of flip flops.)  Luckily, this guy came along and took Keely and Grandma to the parking garage.  Yes, really!

After lunch, it was cake time--YUM!  Ronny & Amy got her an awesome cake--it was wedding cake good.  And TV-worthy!

Keely was definitely blessed with some great gifts, and she deserves every one!  I was really excited about our gift; she wanted Wellies, but I didn't want to buy the boots (good thing, she went for a different color) and I wanted a fun way to give her the money.  So, we bought an umbrella (doesn't every college kid need one?) and tied the money to it, along with a picture of the boots.  It's me, so this was one of those things that sounded great in my head but didn't go off quite as smoothly.  But I still thought it was a fun idea...

All's well, because she got her boots.  :)  

Keely, our card pretty much said it all, but I'll say it in public:  we are so proud of the young lady you've become.  We can't wait to see what's next for you, but we have no doubt you'll continue to be blessed.  You are awesome, and we love you BIG!