29 July 2012

When you give a kid a camera...

Noble woke up ready to go the other day, but he had to wait on the rest of us.

Luckily, he figured out a way to keep busy...

And my favorite:

27 July 2012

Sweet Thought...Bad Pics!

My Boy and I were joking yesterday about something I wanted to blog about but I told him I didn't want to use his photo on my blog...don't want you guys to get spoiled or anything!  So, here are some phone pics because that's how I roll.

A sweet friend had a baby girl last week.  Since baby makes 3 sweet girls, I had to do something for the big sisters, too.  I know the flowers don't match exactly, but I saw them and couldn't resist. Besides, they made a plain paper bag so fun!  (I'm goofy...I folded the bags so that they were small, medium, large...just like the girls.)

23 July 2012

Fortune? Cookies

Finishing lunch with Nana & Dan at the Chinese Buffet...got a kick out of the knuckleheads' fortune cookies. Try Truth cookies:

These have already come true!

20 July 2012

Control Freak Who?

That's the punch line to one of my favorite jokes...and also one of my biggest stumbling blocks. They say the first step is admitting you have a problem, right? So, I walk in after Noble finished making his bed.

The control freak in me wanted to straighten it--we have company today, for Pete's sake. But the preschool teacher Mommy in me was just happy that Noble makes his own bed, and is actually improving...so I went with her. Happy Friday, y'all!

19 July 2012

Morning Buzz

I love sitting here, listening to my Boys play.

This morning, Noble is Buzz Lightyear and Daddy is Zurg.

photo:  from Daddy & Bubby's trip to HEB a few weeks ago :)

I hope this is what Noble remembers, and chooses to do with his own kids.  I know James has freelance work to do, but I love that he stepped away from the computer just to PLAY.

It's something I wish I was better about--just PLAYING.  Ironic, no?  That used to be my job.

18 July 2012


I woke up this morning with two little hands in my hair and two little feet in my back...all is right with my world.  :)

Yesterday was the big day--the knuckleheads came home from Ronny's house!  I was so stinkin' excited yesterday morning I couldn't stand it, I couldn't focus.  If you know me, you know this is a big deal:  I didn't even CLEAN HOUSE before I went to pick them up.  True story--there were dirty dishes in the sink when I left (but Daddy beat us home and there were NOT dirty dishes in the sink when we got home, so that was pretty awesome).  Anyway...I was just ready for them to come home.

And, of course, after driving an hour and a half I walk in the front door at Ronny's to be greeted enthusiastically...by everyone but my kids.  Kayci doesn't look up from the laptop, and Noble takes one look at me and throws himself down on the couch, "but I don't want to go HOOOOOOOOOOOOOME with you...."

Good times.

How's the self esteem now?


So, I went over and hugged Bubby anyway since I could reach him first, and he did give me a big ol' Bubby squeeze (ahh...) and immediately grabbed my hair.  Yeah, he missed me a little.  :)  Then Kayci came over for a hug and all was well.  We went and had lunch at a great Chinese buffet (thanks for lunch, Ronny!) and then we grabbed their bags and headed home.

I felt a little guilty that they had a babysitter on their first evening home (Germania dinner), but the kids were happy with pizza, root beer and a new movie on iTunes.  Honestly, I think they were just happy to be home.  As soon as we walked in the door, they both headed to their room...Kayci to her desk to make a birthday card for a friend, and Noble to just pull every. single. toy. off the shelves and just touch everything.  We kind of felt like he was just taking stock...he's never been away from home like this before, so it was a really interesting reaction.

Anyway, the knuckleheads were gone for 3 nights and almost 4 days.  Not only did they survive, I'd say they thrived.  They obviously had a blast at Ronny's house, even when they weren't having a blast (it can't be a party 24 hours a day, and they enjoyed the down time just as much as the big outings).  I haven't heard a single complaint or negative word from either kiddo, and they're ready to go back just as soon as they can.  (I think we'll give Ronny & Amy's family a little break.)  :)

So here are some highlights of the past 4 days:

...Noble packing.  This was a joke shot--the kids took one suitcase.  Yep.  One.

This cracked us up--Ronny texted this the first night.  There's Noble's "obey" tattoo from VBS last week, but Ronny fixed it for his house.

I was a little worried about the kids going to the community pool, since Noble is convinced he can swim.  I was a little control freak and sent his floaties IN a bag with his swim suit and a note that he MUST wear them.  Both kids told me over and over that it was okay that he wasn't wearing his floaties in "Ronny's pool."  I'd say it looks safe, guys.

I cracked up when I saw this on facebook...I love Keely!

James and I have kind of been fantasizing about having a weekend to ourselves for years...and it finally happened.  But, it happened on a weekend when we were already mostly booked, so we just rolled with it.  We took a nap both days (love weekend naps!) and Saturday afternoon/evening we went out on a date.  It was a great date--shooting range, shopping and a fun dinner at Genghis Grill.  We also went out for lunch on Saturday when we were still settling in to the whole idea of kid-free time...and we had one of the best talks we've had in a while.  It was a great start to our weekend!

Sunday was a Sunday; we were both on-schedule at church so we got up and went in early, then after church we went to scout the location for his shoot...by that time we were too hungry to bother with the healthy stir-fry I'd planned, so we headed to Big Daddy's.  Yep, I said it.  After a lazy nap, it was time to head back out to the country for the maternity shoot.  It was a great location, the house was AMAZING.  And James' pictures ain't half bad, either.

Monday was just a normal day around here...well, kind of--there were no knuckleheads.  This was the day that was probably the most challenging for me, not that it was hard but it was definitely different.  I had a sick headache, so I was actually pretty lazy a good part of the day--couldn't have done that with kids at home!  The kids, by the way, were having a blast:

Yesterday it felt great to have them back in my car, headed home.  They had a great trip, and I'm so grateful to Ronny & his family for having them for so long.  I love that they have nothing but good things to say, and that after the first day they were okay with a text now and then and didn't feel the need to talk to me constantly (I'm not gonna lie, I wanted to talk to THEM, but I also knew they needed some Mommy-free time).  This is the picture we sent to Daddy...Noble's pouting because he was trying to talk Ronny into buying him a toy at Target (because Mommy always lets him get whatever he wants, he said...in what alternate universe, I said?) and then I added insult to injury by taking them to Target...and not buying him a toy.  The nerve.  

When I was posting pictures from my phone this morning, I came across a group of these--can't say that I've missed sharing my phone with the knuckleheads.

The big question:  what did I accomplish while the kids were gone?

Um, not much.

And I really struggled with that--I felt like, if I had kid-free time then I should really get caught up and get big things done around the house...

...but I just didn't have time, truly.

And I couldn't see spending what little time I did have stressing over housework.

So, I did what I could.

I got caught up on Jackson's birthday prep (good thing, Lynn's coming to pick it up today!).

I completed a shirt order, and finally took time to make Noble's requested red rocket shirt.

And I worked on my Bible study, and I had some quiet time.

And I washed rugs.

And I did a little laundry.

And I paid bills and ran errands.

And I ate some junk food.

And I watched 2 movies.

And I listened to "The Bachelorette" yesterday while I worked.

But I didn't accomplish a lot--other than realizing that it was a good thing for the kids to go.  They were good, we were good...I wouldn't want to send them away a lot, but now I know they can go for a weekend here and there.

But next time...next time, we'll plan an actual weekend away from home so we can just ENJOY our "free" time.  Living regular life without kids was just a little weird.

Thanks to Ronny & Amy & their kiddos for making our kiddos feel at home!

13 July 2012

Grown Up Things

So...my Mom is going to my brother's house next week, and there's been some talk of the knuckleheads going for a couple of days, as well.  Honestly, I haven't given it a whole lot of thought--but yesterday, we made ACTUAL arrangements.  It's happening, people.

And you know what I realized?

1.  In Noble's 4+ years, he and I have only been apart 2 nights.  That can't be good for either of us, as great as it is.  Now there's a conundrum!

2.  The truth is, we don't leave our kids with others often.  We used to leave Kayci ALL the time, and Noble, too, until Dad got really sick.  Since we've been in Brenham, we've left our kids with the sweet Murski girls a handful of times, but when you're on a cash budget it stings to pay a babysitter (we pay well!) AND pay for an evening out.  So...we just don't go out much at home, but we do take advantage of Grandma whenever we spend the night in Houston and we try to grab a Mommy-Daddy date, even if it's just eating or wandering around Barnes & Noble.  :)

3.  We LIKE spending time as a family...but, our kids are older and it's important that they learn who they are away from us and it's important to know that they can follow rules, etc. and not act like total heathens when they're away from the rules of our house.  I know, I know...if someone told me they'd only spent 2 nights away from their 4 year old, I'd say, sister--get OUT.  Seriously, go out right now and get some time away from that kid.

4.  This might be the saddest of all:  last night, after the "they're actually LEAVING!" shock wore off, my Boy and I tried to talk about what we would do with a couple of kid-free days.  Go on--think about what you and your better half would do.  Talk amongst yourselves.

What's that?  Beyond the obvious two, both involving beds, and Jame's third, stir-fry, it's kinda hard, isn't it?  What DO we do when we don't have kids?  These pics below are from our date in Houston last week...Pei Wei and almost a movie.  We don't know how to behave when it's just the two of us--we end up doing stupid things like taking pics of our food in restaurants.  Help us!

So, I took our quandary to one of the wisest people I know, and asked him what we should do while they're gone.  Noble shed some light on the subject of what to do:

"You know, grown up things--work, watch TV, do stuff...grown up things."

Ah, yes, grown up things.  Now if only I can remember what those are.

I won't promise an update on our weekend, but I do know that the kids are going to have a blast with Ronny's family and Grandma, and I know they'll be okay.  And I also know these are the times they'll remember forever, just like I cherish my times with my Kansas family.  Sigh.  And then there's the other truth that's lurking...this will be the last time they stay there before Keely leaves for college and things change in the Clarkson house.  Waaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

I know, I know, I'm a grown up.  I should act like one.  Time to work...

12 July 2012


Our niece, Emma, is visiting for a few days. She's not quite used to Bubby, and their conversations make me laugh. Case in point: I sent Noble in to change into pajamas. Emma went in after a few minutes, and we heard this conversation: Emma: is that...like, a dress? (We knew exactly what he was wearing from that one question.) Noble: {oblivious} Emma persisted: are you gonna wear pants with that? Noble: {indignantly} Pants?! What, are we going somewhere?!

Poor Emma never stood a chance.

What's Going On...

I stink at taking time to sit down and blog about our summer. So, I'll just show you. Ready? I've made a few shirts for Lynn...

...spent a few hours at the library...

...gone dancing, and learned that the Dale Watson hype is all true...

...enjoyed time in the kitchen with the kids (and eaten out less than I have in yeeeeeeeears)...

...been praying about t-shirt equipment, and if I'm ready for the next step (selling them--yikes!)...

...spent an afternoon on the lake with one of our favorite families...

...had a little fun with Austin...

...been involved with two Bible studies that both speak to what's on my mind...I'm listening!

James cleaned the pictures off my phone, or I'd go on. Right now...

...a very tired Bubby is napping in my room, and two tired big girls are enjoying some TV after cooking lunch for everyone. (Tonight they're making banana split pie, and tomorrow's breakfast menu is Grandma's donut muffins). Me? I'm fighting a headache, trying to decide what to do next. What's that, you say? Why, I just might. Do nothing for a change. :)

Clean? House

I had two non-kid items on my to-do list this summer: scrapbooking, and washing the curtains/windows. Tuesday I did all the windows, and washed and ironed all but the monkey & orange curtains (not sure they'd survive another washing--have to settle for clean windows there!).

Boring, right? But in moving everything around to get to the windows, we discovered that we like our dining room table pulled out into the middle of the room...it's a little thing, but since that room's been the same way for 6 years it's kind of exciting. :)  Anyone else get excited over this stuff?

 Yesterday, the kids and I braved the rain to go meet my oldest brother so Emma Cate can spend a few days with us. She's 2 years older than Kayci, but they're peas in a pod. Reminds me of my cousin Nicole and me, with all the "shows" they put on. And that clean house?

Even I know there are more important things. :)

06 July 2012

Magic Who?

He's so dreamy...and inside is just as gorgeous as the outside. :) Signed, The Luckiest Girl in the World

03 July 2012

Cuttin' Up

I've been saying for YEARS that I should just bite the bullet and learn how to trim James' hair between haircuts...even boys' haircuts are expensive.  Now we have two boys who need haircuts every few weeks, and I just cringe every time I lay down $17 for Bubby's haircuts.  So, last week we did it...we bought a decent set of clippers.  I've been avoiding them but over the weekend Bubby's hair finally got to the too long point--so this morning he and I got up and watched the DVD that came with the clippers, then headed outside to cut up a bit.

And...it wasn't horrible.  He didn't sit as still for me as he does for the ladies at Sport Clips, but he did okay.  He jumped a couple of times, and there's evidence of that, but I only nicked him once (again, in my defense, it's because he moved as I did the final cut by his ear).  The final verdict?  I need to work a bit on my blending skills, but it ain't bad.  Actually, it's a lot better than some of the haircuts we've paid for the past few years!

Here he is during...

...and after.

*Note:  see those boxes beside him?  That's our next big project...getting stuff in scrapbooks.  Seriously, if I don't get that done this summer I don't know what I'll do!  

And since he only bled a little, he encouraged Kayci to take a turn, too.  So she did--I nipped the ends off her hair.  Unfortunately, our photographer was distracted by his cereal so he didn't get a picture of the scissor cut.  But, I'll just tell you--that's a whole lot scarier than clippers, especially with a kid who's so concerned about her hair.  I think we've come up with a solid plan:  as long as it's just nipping dead ends, I'll try it at home.  But when she needs a hair CUT or STYLE...we'll leave it to the professionals. :)  

Alright, who's next??