25 December 2013

Merry Christmas!

Yesterday was the first Christmas Eve in recent memory with no travel plans. We didn't go ANYwhere until it was time for church-and it. Was. Lovely.

After church Grandma and our pastor's family came over for pizza (Kayci is convinced it's our after Christmas Eve service tradition...sigh) and cookie decorating.

The funny thing was, Noble has been asleep by 7 PM every night since we got home from Disneyland. After church last night BOTH knuckleheads wanted to go to sleep but Daddy and I had visions of a 3 am wake-up, so we made them stay up for the fun. :)

And it was fun, and they got a second wind. After our company left, we got ready for Santa and his reindeer and opened our one gift. Then we took a picture and Daddy read the Christmas story from Luke chapter 2.

The kids pretty well put themselves to bed right after-they didn't even stick around for "The Night Before Christmas!" There were strict do NOT get up before 5 am instructions.

Daddy and I dozed off watching the end of "Christmas Vacation," then we headed off for our own sugarplum visions.

Noble came in at 3:30...but I just CAN'T stay in bed until 5. He did, but it's our bed. The cats woke me up at 4:22, and I've been up since making coffee, prepping buttermilk crumb cake...waiting.

It's 5:20 and Daddy just wandered through on his way to the coffee maker...this is the latest he's slept in months!

Wonder how long until the kids come out? :)

Merry Christmas, y'all!

12 December 2013

Breaking all the rules-boyfriend jeans

Tree of Light--12/3/13

I can't believe I never published this one!  Last Tuesday, we took the kids to Huntsville for the 93rd annual Tree of Light ceremony.  James and I actually met at the Tree of Light our freshman year (November 30, 1993).  The Freshman Leaders helped host that year, and I reworked "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" as "Professor Grinch."  I have no idea if it was actually any good, but I know I worked hard.  :)  And, as it was 1993, I typed one copy on Beth's word processor and didn't get it back from the girl who read it.  (Who's now semi-famous, wonder if my writing contributed?  Nah...)

Anyway, the important part:  I was serving gingerbread and wassail.  A cocky boy walked up in his Top Gun knockoff leather jacket and asked for more wassail, and I said, simply, "No."  I remember it vividly, which is weird because I'm a smartass every day.  Now, I would have said "yes" if he'd asked again nicely, but he didn't give me a chance--he just turned around and walked away.

And hated me for 2 years.  :)  Like, made fun of me when he saw me hated me.

Then we met again because of Program Council, and eventually he loooooooved me.

And lucky me, the Boy I like loves me still and we have two great kids we like and love.

Life is good.  :)

My own little throwback Thursday:

Balcony Outfit-Photographer's Assistant

02 December 2013


Happy December!  This is always a time of reflection for me.  I wish I could say it's because I'm so focused on the Advent season, but really, it's a time when I really rethink the busy-ness of our lives.  Okay, MY life.

The kids have so been looking forward to December this year, and they were very, very patient for the most part.  I think it was a little anticlimactic that Taylor appeared sans gifts this year, and that she has not morphed into one of the mischievous elves that the kids hear about at school.  I've been preparing the kids for the idea of simplified decorations this year, but now that they're in progress we'll see how it goes.  Kayci did not take the news well--she's a creature of habit, like me.  Luckily we can blame a lot on the kittens this year.


And nope, the Advent calendar isn't set up and I don't have any clever ideas, either.  I really, truly want to simplify this year.  It's funny--for the past several years I've been heading that way but I always get sidetracked.  When Kayci was 3, 4, 5, I prided myself on packing tons of fun into every single day of Christmas.  Then I simplified a bit...then I tried the 12 days of Christmas...then I simplified a bit...then I'd get busy being busy...when will I learn to focus on what Christmas is really all about?

Faith * Family * Friends

I know this.  Every year I try to keep the first things first, and every year I fall short.  So this year, we'll see.

Fingers crossed I can stand firm on the simpler decorations--we bought a bunch of cedar garland and I hope that will be the bulk of our decorating.  We also realized this year that we don't have a Nativity set that's not a toy.  Yup.  Luckily my sweet friend gave me the Willow Tree 3 Wisemen this year, so at least we've got that to start.  Now to see if I can still get the rest of the pieces...

This morning I went back and found a blog post that I wrote to share with some of my Mom friends who were interested in our Christmas traditions.  I can't find the original one, but here's one about a year later that still makes my head spin with all of the STUFF.  


This is one of my favorite blog posts, ever--I remember that winter as if it was yesterday.  That big ol' baby still crawls up into my lap, and I love it.


And I found this post interesting--2 years ago apparently I was pretty focused on simplifying Christmas.  When I think about Christmas 6 years ago, 4 years ago...yep, what we've done the past couple years is definitely simpler.  But I think we can do it even better.  And no, I still haven't done new stockings, etc.  BUT, I'm closer--I've started selecting fabric!


We bought our tree yesterday--we went with a Fraser instead of a Noble fir because it was cheaper and we had to replace all of our outside lights this year.  The kids can't wait to decorate it--the tree is the one area I've agreed NOT to simplify, because it tells the story of us.


Oh, and just to be clear, Mommy friends:  I'm not judging your beautifully decorated houses or your awesome themed decorations or your super-entertaining elves.  In fact, keep it up so we can enjoy them!

27 November 2013


This post is TMI, but I needed to read it about 3 weeks ago and maybe you need to read it, too.

It's been a rough few months around here as James and I have both been working...a LOT.  For the past few weeks, even though my work schedule has let up some, it hasn't been any easier around here.  We're off, our kids are off...as wonderful as things are, something's just not right.

A couple of weeks ago, things came to a head and James and I got into an argument about spending time together.  Wives, we KNOW that makes him want to hang out with us right?  Not so much, but dang if I didn't go there, anyway.

You won't be shocked to know that the week after that conversation was pretty tense.  Sigh.  That was on me, and I knew it.

Then this past weekend, I pointed out something that James did that made me feel unloved:  he didn't ask me how I was feeling the day after I came home sick from work AND had a pretty bad fall on a wet floor and hurt myself.  In his defense, I acted like I was fine.  I'm a Mommy--that's what we do.  Let me know when I've got time to lay around and fall apart, guys, and I'm. So. In.

Long story short, the next day, my old Boy was back.  Kind and loving, touching me for no reason, doing and saying all of the things that normally make me feel so loved.  He's been very sweet since then, and has really made a point to spend time with me these past few days.  We've made some pretty amazing family plans.

Awesome, right?

Buuuuuut...I didn't realize until this morning how hurt I was from the past few months of being "off."  This morning we were making some fun plans for this weekend (our family time hasn't suffered, thank goodness), and somehow we got from there to talking about us.  And man alive, did we need that talk.  We started off on different pages, and I thought we'd have to just agree to disagree.  But my sweet Boy kept pushing, and he let me know (in a nice way) that I've let HIM know over the past few days just how unhappy I am.  Apparently I've been ignoring him when he's touched me or been sweet--ouch.  He said, and this was the kicker, that I've been very "frowny."

What??  Me??


The truth hurts, right?  Him saying that in a non-threatening way caused the scales to fall off my eyes, y'all, and I saw this situation for what it was:  as much as I would have told you differently 3 hours ago, for WEEKS I've been focused on what James has or has not been doing.  I thought I was...can I use a really small font here so you don't see how stupid I am...right.

I thought I'd been wronged.

And I thought I was suffering silently.

Yeah, apparently I suck at that.

Dang, it's hard to see my own sin.  But so necessary.  I feel so much better, and I've admitted both to God and to James how wrong I've been.  It's hard to ask forgiveness, and to humble myself.

Which is an ongoing issue with our oldest child, btw, and I know exactly where she gets it from.

Sigh.  Her daddy.

Just kidding--it's an issue for both of us.  

The funny thing is, and I guess it's not so funny when you know how God works, is that after we kissed and made up and went our separate ways, I got back to my quiet time.  And in trying to get to Acts 9:18--yep, about Paul and the scales, huh, my Bible app somehow landed on Colossians 3:18.  Imagine my surprise:

If you'd ask me, I'd tell you I've been working on submission for years but have just recently really made strides.  But obviously, for every stride forward some days I take two back.  It's a process, right?

I don't normally post about such private things on here, but I think every once in a while we all need to hear that it's not always all about what the other person is doing.  We're always, always doing something, too.  Even if what they're doing is worse...this is how my inner dialogue goes when I'm having an issue with my Boy:  "But HE..."  Yeah, God doesn't much care what James is doing--He cares that I'M doing the right thing.

Even when the right things is hard.

Even when the right thing is humbling.

Even when the right thing is opposite of what the world says women should do.

This life thing is tough, y'all.

Even when it's wonderful.

On a separate note, I've also been very grumpy about my family's housekeeping for the past few months.  Like, griping pretty constantly at my sweet girl.  This morning, before my attitude-changing encounter with my Boy,  I read something by Lysa Terkeurst that I've read before, but I needed to see again:  

I had already decided to view today through a lens of thankfulness, and to QUIT GRIPING.  

After hearing from my Boy, I think that it's better late than never.  So if you see me today, remind me: be thankful!

21 November 2013

Photographer's Assistant--ModCloth Polyvore Challenge

Photographer's Assistant

Photographer's Assistant by kristi-viii featuring a black dress

A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from a sweet stylist from ModCloth inviting me to participate in a Polyvore challenge.  Basically, all I had to do was create a fun outfit based on a piece of their choosing and publish it here on my blog.  I've been wanting to try Polyvore because I've seen the cool stuff you guys are pinning, but I think I just needed an excuse.  It was fun, and I'll definitely keep doing it!  

I e-mailed the stylist before I published this today and told her she'd probably be disappointed--I didn't use bold colors or pieces, because honestly, I'd wear this dress to help James out at weddings.  My goal there is to look good but blend in, so I put this outfit together with that in mind.  Right now I'm loving gray, so I added some charcoal here.  And look at that fun ring and earrings...those are going on my Christmas list.  :)  

Oh, and I'm not getting anything from Modcloth, but check them out if you enjoy vintage-inspired clothing!  

20 November 2013

days 12-19

Last week flew by!

day: 12
I'm thankful that Patty came to visit...Noble considers my aunt his "other Grandma."  They bonded when we went to Phoenix for Uncle Gary's funeral almost 3 years ago, and he's been a big fan ever since.  We went to Austin last Tuesday to pick Patty up for the airport--and all Noble remembers about the trip is that I circled the airport 4 times due to some confusion and a closed cell phone lot.  And he's told EVERYONE who will listen.  Stinkin' kid.

day 13:
I'm thankful for kids who love school, and love to learn.  I love, love hearing about their days and seeing what they've learned.  And I appreciate the fact that they come right in and do their homework without complaint!

day 14:

I'm thankful for my Dad, and for what he taught me.  He used to say this all the time and I thought it was goofy when I was younger--but when I was older, I realized Dad was right along.  Thursday was Dad's birthday, and I still have a hard time, after all these years.

day 15:

I'm thankful for a flexible work schedule.  Noble got sick after school on Thursday, so we missed Grandpa's birthday dinner.  I'm thankful I was able to just BE with him...he bounced back quickly!

day 16:

I'm thankful for kids who get along (mostly) and who can entertain themselves (mostly).  Even though they were writing (gasp!) letters to Santa.

day 17:

James shot a wedding in Cleveland on the 16th, so he and I stayed in a hotel rather than driving back so late.  Good thing, as it was raining--which made for some fun reception pictures!

I'm thankful for time with my Boy, whether it's quality time or just TIME.

And I'm also thankful that humor is one of our family's main languages.  I giggled aloud to myself as I was sending this one.  Oy, that flea market was somethin', y'all!

day 18:

I'm thankful that I can laugh at myself, since I'm now THAT Mom.

James and I went shopping on Sunday and found the last few things on Kayci's fall/winter clothing wish list.  I wanted to take Noble a happy, too, but he doesn't NEED anything since I've stocked up for him the past few weeks.  Well, he's been talking about how he's going to dress the cats up for Christmas since we went to Target the day we adopted them, so we grabbed a tiny pet Santa hat and beard for him.  Then they had this shirt in the boys' section, and we thought it would be a funny joke.

The joke was on me--Bubby wore this to school on Monday.  Sigh.  But it's okay, he told me, because he'd wear the Thanksgiving shirt on Tuesday.  Oh, okay then.  Sigh.

Also day 18:  don't you just want to know what he's thinking in this picture?  I'm thankful for this kid, and the fact that he's so opinionated about his hair and clothes, even when we don't agree.  

day 19:  

I'm thankful I got in from work in time to pick Noble up from school and Kayci up from Children's Chorus.  We had breakfast for dinner last night specifically so we could have Mickey Mouse pancakes in honor of booking our Disneyland trip yesterday.  I think I am officially more excited than the kids!  We also started season 2 of the Cosby Show...I love laughing out loud with the knuckleheads!  

12 November 2013

days 8-11

I'm a few days behind...right now I'm having a hard time hanging out online.  I don't think it's really a bad thing, though.  :)

day 8:  I was SO blessed to be able to take the day off and just be Noble's Mommy.  Not only did I get to tag along on the kindergarten field trip to Dewberry Farm, I got to hang out with one of my favorite friends on the way to and from.  It was a great day!  

Noble's teacher is one the best teachers I've ever met, and that's saying a lot.  I'm already sad that I don't have any more children to send her way.  She's such a blessing!

Noble was crying because he wanted to ride the slide again...his friends were right there to comfort him and move him along to the next thing.  

There was a mishap right after we got there with a bell, a mallet, a mud puddle, a strong little boy and a Mommygirl...I never saw it coming!

We booked it to Granbury on Friday so we could see Reagan and Gavin march in the Granbury HS band.  It was a loooooooong, dark drive...I don't think we'll be making it on Friday night anymore.  I won't lie, we were pretty miserable by the time we got there.  And then the band didn't march until well after 10--Noble was asleep in my lap long before then.  BUT, it was worth it to see our niece and nephew doing something they love and having so much fun doing it.  We were extra lucky to be there on the weekend of their glow in the dark show--I've heard about Brenham's but never seen it, this was so much fun to watch!

day 9:  on Saturday we just had time to hang out at Ronny's with family.  We went out for a while to shop for Operation Christmas Child boxes, which was fun!

Saturday night we celebrated Reagan's 16th birthday.  Oh, how time flies!  

day 10:  we got up and booked it back to Brenham for our lunch and Operation Christmas Child box event at church.  And we won't do that again--the trip home was equally long and not so fun with a deadline on the other end.  BUT, again, it was totally worth it.  

After the event at church, it was back in the car to head to Conroe to see GoGo & Angus & Katie & Johnny & Adam...we hadn't seen some of them since April, the last time we got together at Katie's house.  We had a nice visit, and Noble got to read to GoGo.  :)

day 11:  One of the many things I love about Germania is the fact that they observe Veteran's Day every year.  James had a productive day off and we got to spend some quality time together.  He had a fun photo shoot yesterday evening--here he is with his new assistant.  I suspect this 3 year old will charge less than I do, I may be out of a job!

07 November 2013

day 7: blue skies

I've spent 12+ hours in the car this week and have seen lots of gray skies. Today I was grateful for a beautiful blue sky!

06 November 2013

days 5 & 6

I'm commuting 3 days in a row this week, but I'm also trying to be respectful of my Boy's wishes that I work closer to the contracted 20 hours.  So, I did a bit of creative scheduling to make sure I'm in district for meetings each day and classroom visits...I'm still over the 20 hours, but I feel like I've accomplished something since I'll be here for drop off and Bible Study this morning before I go in to work, and I was home for dinner last night.  Hopefully I'll be home for dinner tonight, then tomorrow will be a regular long day so I can fit in several classroom visits before an afternoon meeting.  While I'm struggling at home to balance the hours at work, I'm also struggling at work to balance time in meetings/trainings with time in classrooms with teachers and kids...it feels right now that I'm out of whack everywhere, and I'm thinking that feeling that way is the first step toward figuring out a way to work it all out.  Right??

It's progress, y'all, and I'll take it.  :)

I thought a lot about gratitude on the way home yesterday, and I realize how blessed I am to have the opportunities that I have career-wise.

day 5:  I'm thankful to work in a district that does what's best for kids.  The more I learn about education, the more I see that where I am is exactly where I want to be...and I'm grateful.

I'm also grateful for the beautiful sunrises and sunsets I experience on the road.

day 6:  I just read a thought-provoking blog post about kids not being the center of their Mom's world.  It hit home with me because I share a lot of her views on child-rearing.

Today, I'm thankful for independent kids.  These knuckleheads waited until SUNDAY to carve their pumpkin because they wanted to do it all by themselves...it's a long story that involves thrill points and photo shoots and commuting and a crazy life.  But the end result is the same:  they did it all by themselves.  It's this independence and responsibility that allowed us to get the kittens, because we knew the kids could handle taking care of them.  I realize that it's pretty rare to have kids that do what they're supposed to do because they're supposed to do it, and I appreciate it.

Man, I love these knuckleheads!  That's been the hardest part about all of the commuting, not seeing them in the mornings and not being here for my favorite after school time.  I love talking to them about their day when they get in the car, and those after school hours are some of our very best times.  Well, I think it's fair to say they used to be--they're pretty rare these days.  

I've only gone in late a couple of times, and I cherish mornings like this when I can have a "normal" morning at home and THEN go in to work.  I also love the days I don't have to go in to work at all, I won't lie.  :)  

I hope y'all have a great, grateful day.  If you're not already, I encourage you to practice gratitude with your kids this month (and always!).  It's a little thing that can make a huge difference in attitude!

04 November 2013

day 4: grateful for babies

Welcome to our family, Calvin & Hobbes!

03 November 2013

30 days of gratitude--let's hear it!

I love, love November for about a bajillion reasons, but the first one is that my friends and loved ones fill my facebook feed with things they're thankful for.  It makes my heart smile!  I might just log in to facebook every day this month, which would be pretty unusual.

Friday when I got in from work, we had dinner at Mom's house.  She picked up the kids since I was at work, and then was sweet enough to make dinner for all of us.  DaddyBoy had a special delivery--a brown box straight from China.  The kids couldn't wait to open it, but they were nice enough to wait for me since it was, technically, my happy.

Here's my thankful #1:  our new MacBook.  Also tacked on to that #1 is how fun it was to see the knuckleheads so excited...turns out, they just wanted to play with the photobooth app.  So that was the first official thing our new laptop did.  :)

...James and I planned a date Friday night since Mom was kind enough to keep the kids overnight.  We talked endlessly about going to the theater and which movie we should see, but we couldn't decide and I was just tired.  So, the second thing our new computer did was allow us to watch Downton Abbey on the TV screen.  It was pretty awesome, much better than any movie we could have paid for.  (And it worked out well, as the speakers on our TV are going out and we used the money we saved on the movie to buy something magical called a sound bar yesterday.  Yeah, I don't know, either, but I know the TV sounds great now!).

day #2:  Yesterday was a great day!  James and I started out with our favorite Saturday morning date (Grey's Anatomy & coffee in bed), then went and had breakfast and ran to the store before we picked up the kids.  Then it was a flurry of ironing and getting ready for the rest of our day, which meant helping out at a fabulous wedding for Daddy and Elizabeth's wedding shower for us.  There are going to be lots of great pictures from yesterday, but the only ones that ended up on my phone are the ones Noble took.  So here's Noble's favorite part of day 2:  Jackson.  

day 2:  I'm grateful for the way James uses his talents to bless others, and the fact that no matter how good he gets, he realizes there's always more to learn from people who are even better.  What a great lesson for our kids, right?  

I'm also grateful for friends who are more like family, which is what Lynn and her Turpins are to us.  We are blessed!

day 3:  We have been anxiously awaiting this day--this morning we are going to tell Kayci and Noble what we're doing after church today...going to pick up these two guys!

The kids really, really want a pet, and the only thing standing in their way has been me.  A dog is out of the question with our traveling, but a cat fits the bill of furry and lovable and playful AND fits into our lifestyle.  But it seems mean to just get one, so we're bringing his brother home, too.  Right now these guys are Wylie (gray) and Rylie (orange).  We're going to let Kayci and Noble each name one, can't wait to see what that sounds like!  These babies were literally being used as coyote bait when they were rescued...I'm so grateful that we can give them a home!  

Oh, the kids are going to FREAK!  The reason these pictures are cut out is because we're doing grateful hearts in November, and saying what we're thankful for each day.  We haven't gotten our tree branch, yet, but when we have the kids write their hearts this morning Daddy and I are going to put these in the mix.  What fun!

31 October 2013

The Great Pumpkin...Debate

This is one of Noble's art projects from October.  I think it's beautiful...though the teacher in me is bothered by how many of his projects from art class look like an adult did the bulk of the work.  I know many parents prefer "beautiful" art...but my favorite art is always what comes from a child's own heart, and hands.  

But that's not what this post is about.  

On Sunday, I wore my jack-o-lantern shirt to church with a cute skirt and a cardi.  
(I'm wearin' it again today, actually.)

As I went to sit down, one of my favorite 5 year old boys was sitting in the row behind us.  He said, so respectfully in his sweet voice, "Mrs. Pharaon, do y'all celebrate Halloween?"

Yes, we do (his name).  

"Well, you should stop."  He said a couple more things, but I was stuck right there.  I told him that I think we should definitely talk about it.  His sisters, who are lovely young ladies, may have been a bit embarrassed at him speaking to me about such a sensitive subject, but I wasn't embarrassed at all.  
What a witness, y'all!

Because that 5 year old had brought up an inner debate I've been having for the past few years, and this year it has really intensified.

I've read a lot about how some Christians celebrate and some don't...I don't want to be like the crazy family down the street who blacks out their house and pretends not to be home on Halloween.  I want our family to be a light in the darkness.  I enjoy going door to door and meeting neighbors and enjoying fellowship and smiling at the little faces that march up to our door.  That part of Halloween, I love.

But the part that celebrates death, even jokingly?  That part has been troubling me for a while.

I don't know what the answer is, but my Boy brought it up to me a couple of days ago and I think we're at a point where we need to do some more research and just see where the Spirit leads us.  

Either way, I'm looking forward to family time today.   

It's good to stop and think not only about what we do, but why.  Even when it's scary.  

28 October 2013

My life, by the numbers

Friday was my 4th and final day to commute last week.  4 out of 5 days on the road gave me lots of time to think, especially since I knew that it was the last week I'd be on the road 4 days for a while.  A week ago, I was just getting back from a trip to Corpus Christi for a conference.  While I was there, I talked to my specialist team about how this fall has been an aberration, that I'm only contracted to work 2 days-ish/week.  With having new people on the team and new programs and other stuff going on, it's been necessary for me to be at work several days each week instead of working from home, but it's taken its toll on my family, and I'm exhausted.  To the point of nodding off while I'm driving, which hasn't happened since college.  So, it was time for a change.  I knew I had to get through the conference and then a big week this past week, and then I would go back to a more reasonable work schedule.  James and my boss both approached me this past week about working too much, and that really helped me let go and start planning how to get back to being at home more.

Saturday morning, for the first time in I don't know when, I had no plans.  Kayci had a birthday party most of the day, the boys had a fishing date, and I had nothing on the books.  If I let myself think about it I'd start making a list of things I should do to get caught up...but I didn't want to do any of those things.  And frankly, I knew I needed some downtime.  Everyone was up and around early, so we decided to go to a fun restaurant for breakfast before we all went our separate ways.  I told the kids that starting this next week I'll be home more, and will only go into town 2 days each week.  James and I were surprised at how excited they were to hear it--I thought they would be disappointed that it would mean less time with friends or Grandma's TV after school.

Last Wednesday at our team meeting, one of my friends (who is also one of our new specialists) remarked at how fast the semester has gone by.  Thanksgiving is a month away, y'all.  I was honestly shocked as I sat there and realized how much time has passed...is gone.  I feel like I've missed almost a whole semester of life.  Melodramatic much, Mommygirl?  But that's how I felt.

Something happened on Wednesday that put things in perspective for me--the things that feel like life and death are often not that important, but when faced with an actual life and death event (not mine, don't worry), I realized that I needed to keep things in perspective better.  And that event took all of the fight and energy right out of me.  I drove home Wednesday night feeling defeated and exhausted and just DONE.  But I had to get up again and go back on Thursday, and that's when I started really thinking about the past 12 weeks and how they've flown by.  I looked at my odometer and was shocked at how far I'd driven since getting my oil changed on October 11th.  Let's start there, shall we?

My life by the numbers:

I looked down at the odometer when I got home on Friday.  

# of miles driven between 10/11 oil change and 10/24 commute home:  1500

# of days scheduled to work since August 19:  22

# of days schedule to commute out of those 22:  15

# of days ACTUALLY worked since August 19:  28

# of days commuted out of those 28:  25

Here's where it got interesting for me.  

I had to stop and think about this for a few minutes when I counted it up.  10 extra days doesn't seem so bad, spread out over 11 weeks.  Keep in mind, though, that 2 of the 3 weeks prior to August 19 I also commuted 4 days each week.  

6 additional work days doesn't seem so bad.  But, 10 additional commuting days?  That's a minimum of 2000 extra miles on my car, and an additional 5 tanks of gas.  It's an additional 30-40 hours in the car, not to mention meals eaten out, mornings and evening with my family missed...it's a lot, y'all.  

estimated hours in the car since August 19, just for work:  at least 100 

longest one-way commute (keep in mind, it's 81 miles):  2 hours, 45 minutes

shortest one-way commute (this past Friday, actually!):  1 hour, 15 minutes

average one-way commute:  2 hours (that's leaving between 5-5:15 AM, y'all, and coming home late)

Until this year, if I worked 2 days in Houston I would go in late one day and stay late another, so I didn't miss so much time with the kids (who have both struggled with my working, especially Noble these past few years).  This year, # of days I've gone in early and stayed late:  all but 2 of them.  

In addition to my PPCD job, I also took on quite a bit of Region 4 work this semester.  As it turns out, not only are we saving for DisneyLand, it's also time to replace my MacBook.

# of MacBooks currently on their way to us:  1, baby.

I think it would be funny to add up all of the times I've gone to pick this one up and the battery has been drained, or to count all of the times I've wiggled the charger thingy trying to get it to work.  It's funny now...it hasn't been so funny these past few months when I've been using it so much!

Back to Region 4.  Since August 16...

# of classes taught:  4

# of students taught:  34

# of assignments graded:  1005

As an administrator, I've also worked on another 12-15 courses.  

James has said that the constant grading is what tipped the scale for him...when we went to Vegas last month, I spent an entire day in the hotel room grading and working on PPCD stuff.  I'm not sure it was worth it, to be honest, but it was necessary.  

# of days I've slept past 5:00 AM since August 16:  hmm, maybe 4 or 5?  

Let's not forget that I have yet another job, a little happy.  It's SOOOOOOOOOOOOO been on the back burner for a long time, I've only been taking orders from friends who seek me out.  Above is a onesie for a baby shower at work...guess what her Mommy teaches?  :)

I tried to add up my orders in my head, but I don't feel like getting out my binder.  So here's my best guess...

# of shirts/onesies made since August 16:  26-30

# of orders that took longer than I promised:  100%

# of shirts on hold since about then:  4-5...getting to them this week, finally!

# of orders turned down:  lots

A year ago, I thought a little happy would be rocking and rolling by now...but there's just no time.  I don't sleep enough as it is!

Let's get to the fun stuff.  

Kayci started reading the Harry Potter books this fall, and she loves them.  I read the first 4 when they came out, then had a baby and didn't have time for reading like that anymore (ahem, Kayci).  But, I didn't feel comfortable letting her read something like that not knowing what she'd come across, so I decided from here out I need to read what she reads.  Sigh.  I wish I could not care--that's a LOT of reading I've signed myself up for.  

# of Harry Potter books read to stay ahead of my fast-reading 10 year old:  2 (#7 is in my phone now, ready to read...since I started this post, I think I'm on Chapter 7)

# of days taken to read book 6:  1.  Did I mention I did NOTHING on Saturday?  I laid around and read and napped.  It was fabulous.  A Harry Potter in one day?  It's a record for me.  Did you know I read crazy fast?  It's not always a good thing!

Here's a fun one:  I took Noble to the boot store intending to buy one pair of boots, for him.

# of boots actually purchased:  4, a pair for each of us.  I love, love my boots!  But don't have a picture of them...you'll have to wait.  

In the middle of all of this working, we've also done quite a bit of playing on the weekends.  We decorated for fall, and I've lost count of the # of pumpkins we've purchased for our house.  Here's what I do know...
# of pumpkins we're taking to Noble's class today for a project this week:  21, 20 small and 1 large

2 weeks ago, we went to Huntsville for Homecoming AND to James' 20 year high school reunion.  

Last week, James donated his time and photographed a SIRE event.  The kids and I had fun, too...for the first time ever, I agreed to hold a snake.  I won't say it wasn't that bad, but I don't know that I'd do it again.  

Last week, the specialists and I went to the Autism Conference in Corpus Christi.  
# of times we walked by this piano in the lobby and wondered aloud if any of knew how to play it:  I lost track.  Every time.

# of happy notes in my bag:  3.  
# of smiles from those 3 notes:  I lost track.  :)

# of Whataburgers we visited before we found THE Whataburger, which turned out to be about a 1/2 mile from our hotel:  3.  Turns out, the original Whataburger is no longer there.  It was quite the disappointment after we drove across town in the rain on our short lunch break.  

# of times I've eaten lunch with Noble at school this year:  3
# of times I bought a tray lunch:  1  (they're $3.50, y'all--the next time, I just sat with him while he ate!)
# of hours volunteered this school year, total:  2.5  (I used to do that several times a week.  :( )

# of times I've eaten lunch out while working:  ugh, too many.  

# of times I've gotten to take the kids to school and/or pick them up:  maybe 2/week

Here are some other numbers I've thought about since this has been rolling around in my head...

# of times I've had coffee with friends (not at work):  1

# of times I've been able to attend Bible Study:  1

# of times I've been to yoga:  0

# of times I could have gone to yoga but didn't:  4?  

Oh, yeah, and remember my big ambitions for October?  

# of minutes each day I PLANNED to work on scrapbook organization:  15

# of minutes I've actually worked on it:  30 (2 days out of 27 now)

# of pages of Project Life I intended to have journaled by now:  120+

# of weeks behind on Project Life:  12, at least

Oh, and remember that other thing James wanted to do in October?

# of days we meant to NOT eat meat:  31

# of days we didn't eat meat:  maybe 10

# of days until we quit pretending:  22

Today is a new day.  It's the first week I am on what I consider a "normal" schedule.  

# of items on my agenda:  not nearly as many as you'd think...I realize I can't catch up on 3 months in one day, or even one week.  I'm going to just take it one step at a time!

This numbers thing...it's addictive. 

I find myself now wanting to figure out how many birthday cards I've mailed this year...and how many have been late.  How many phone calls and e-mails and bills paid and hours of TV watched...think of all of the quantifiable parts of our day!

Number of entries in my gratitude journal...number of Bible verses read...I could count all day!

But, I won't.  :)

Happy Monday, y'all--have a great week!  Who knows, maybe I'll *actually* see you around!