Saturday, May 29, 2010

Over and Out

Actually seeing real people face-to-face. Expect radio silence. Details to follow. Have a great Memorial weekend.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Ok.  There has not been one moment to take a breath since Shawn's birthday.  The end of the school year is a blur of activity!  Who knew?!  Well, I guess every grade school parent who's ever gone before me - I, clearly, just wasn't listening very closely.

Anyhoo...  Sunday was Pentecost.  And, I know it's a little bit sad that a lot (okay, most) of the things I learn in church, I learn when the pastor is teaching the kids.  But, hey.  At least I'm learning something, right?  And what I learned on Sunday was that Pentecost is the third most important holiday in the Christian church after (Oh, come on.  You know this...) Christmas and Easter.  It's the seventh Sunday after Easter and commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit on Jesus' disciples.  When it happened, they were able to speak in all the different languages of the people assembled with them in Jerusalem.  (Acts 2:1-47)  And, it also gave them the ability to go out to all the world and spread the story of Christ.  Therefore, it is commonly considered the "birth day" of the Church.

So there.  Now you know, too.

But, I'd be lying if I didn't say that one of the things I like about Pentecost is that everyone wears red (and God would know if I was lying).  But, my God is a pretty cool guy, so I can't figure that He minds too much.  Red symbolizes joy and the fire of the Holy Spirit.  And, that brings me to this: The sweet picture of me and the kids with my step-dad, Bill (aka "Pop").

Happy Pentecost!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

On this day in history

1303 - The Treaty of Paris restored Gascony to the British in the Hundred Years War. (And I think we all breathe a little bit easier for it.)

1501 - The Portuguese discovered an island in the south Atlantic on Ascension Day and named it Ascension Island. (How creative.)

1830 - H.D. Hyde of Reading, Pennsylvania patented the fountain pen. (And, shirt pockets everywhere trembled with fear.)

1861 - North Carolina became the last of the Confederate states to secede from the Union.

1861 - The capital of the Confederacy was moved from Montgomery, Alabama, to Richmond, Virginia. (A hard move to make if North Carolina's not on your side - you may now go Google a map of the United States.)

1875 - The International Bureau of Weights and Measures was established. (Really?  We  need an International Bureau for this?!)

1899 - Jacob German of New York City became the first driver to be arrested for speeding. Mr. German was whipping his taxicab all over Lexington Avenue and being a pain in the neck by going over the posted 12 mile-per-hour speed limit!  (Maniac.)

1902 - Cuba was handed over to a republican government and the last U.S. troops left. (How'd that work out for everyone?)

1922 - The P&O liner Egypt sank off Ushant with the loss of 90 lives after colliding in fog with the French steamship Seine. The ship was also carrying one million sterling worth of gold and silver. (Was that 1922 dollars?  Because if this wreck was never recovered, I think I'm about to plan a trip to Ushant and take up scuba diving.  Just as soon as I figure out where Ushant is...)

1923 - British Prime Minister Bonar Law resigned because of ill health and was replaced by Stanley Baldwin. (Please tell me you pronounce that man's name 'boner'.)

1927 - Great Britain signed the Treaty of Jeddah with King Ibn Saud, recognizing the independence of Saudi Arabia. (Bet they wish they'd kept the oil and mineral rights.)

1927 - ‘Lucky’ Lindbergh took off from Roosevelt Field in New York aboard the small airplane "Spirit of St. Louis", en route to Paris, France. Thirty-three and one-half hours later, Charles A. Lindbergh arrived at his destination - and flew into history. (Yeah.  That really is cool.)

1932 - Amelia Earhart took off from Newfoundland for Ireland to became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. (May 20 is a good day in the history of flight!)

1956 - The first hydrogen bomb to be dropped from the air was exploded by the Americans over the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific.

1961 - A white mob attacked a busload of Freedom Riders in Montgomery, Alabama, prompting the federal government to send in U.S. marshals to restore order. (This gives me hope that our country does have the ability to become better than we are, even when it seems like we have so far to go.)

1972 - A referendum in Cameroon approved the country's change from a federation into a unitary state.  (Now looking up the words "federation" and "unitary"...)

1972 - Shawn was born!  (A loud crash was heard by his dad in the waiting room of the clinic, but his mom swears he wasn't dropped.)

1973 - Ken Moore beat 4,030 competitors to win the 63rd Bay-to-Breakers footrace in San Francisco, California. Moore stepped his way to the finish line in 37 minutes, 15 seconds over a course measured at 7.8 miles. (Wow.  I can barely get to the end of the block in 37 minutes.)

1978 - Mavis Hutchinson, 53, made it to New York City to become the first woman to run across America. The 3,000-mile trek took her 69 days. She ran an average of 45 miles each day. (What is wrong with these people?)

1980 - The Canadian province of Quebec voted against a proposal to negotiate independence from Canada.  (Granted I was only in kindergarten, but I do not remember the Quebecian uprising of 1980.)

1985 - Larry Holmes retained the heavyweight boxing title of the International Boxing Federation at Reno, Nevada - by defeating Carl Wilson in 15 rounds. The fight marked the first, heavyweight title fight in Reno since Jack Johnson and Jim Jeffries duked it out in 1910. (Way to go Reno Chamber of Commerce!)

1989 - Chinese communist authorities slapped martial law on the capital of Beijing after student-led protests brought millions of people onto the streets.
(Who could ever forget this picture?)

1995 - Vietnamese refugees rioted at the Whitehead detention camp in Hong Kong in protest at an order that they be forcibly repatriated. (How exactly do you forcibly repatriate someone?  That can't end well.)

And, happy birthday also, to Dolley Madison, Jimmy Stewart, Joe Cocker, Cher and Bronson Pinchot (aka Balki Bartokomous).  I'd trade all of you for just one Shawn...

Happy Birthday, Shawn.  I love you.  Let's celebrate many, many more together.

Thanks again to for all the useless trivia!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Let Them Eat Cake

Elizabeth had chocolate cake at our Mother's Day brunch.  To say she liked it would be an understatement.  Even a catastrophic frosting incident couldn't quell her enthusiasm for, and single-minded attack of this cake.

That's how I eat cake, too.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

When I find a recipe that is stupid easy AND gets rave reviews, I feel it is my duty to share it with the world.

Ok, that may be overstating it a bit, but here's a stupid easy recipe that gets rave reviews (God bless you, Cressinda, for teaching it to me).

**Disclaimer: There is nothing remotely nutritious about these.  But, dang, they're good!**

1 large roll of chocolate chip cookie dough
1 bag of miniature Reese's peanut butter cups (at least 48)

Place a quarter of a slice of cookie dough into a mini muffin tin (silicone works best, because they just pop out at the end, but you can use metal pans that have been sprayed with Pam).  Bake as directed on the package (350° for 10-12 minutes).  While baking, unwrap the Reese's peanut butter cups.  As soon as the cookies come out of the oven, drop a peanut butter cup in the middle of each one.  Let cool before you remove from pan (or you will get melted chocolate everywhere.  Trust me.)  Makes 48 morsels of goodness (or possibly more.  I couldn't say, as I have a tendency to eat the raw dough before it has a chance to make all the cookies of which it is capable).

Take them to your event and get ready to humbly tell everyone how easy they are - because they will ask for the recipe.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

He Gets That From You

I heard Spence talking in his sleep over the monitor the past few nights and it was weird (by the way, what age is too old to have a baby monitor in your son's room - I mean, he might still get scared and need me in the night when he's sixteen, right?  Anyway - back to sleeptalking).  It was really insistant, but mumbled so you couldn't tell exactly what he was saying except for a few words here and there.  I asked Shawn if we should be worried by how troubled it sounded and he said, "Welcome to sleeping with you every single night."  Oh.  Well, I'm not worried or stressed, so I guess it's okay.

Another time, Shawn and I were visiting with Spence's violin teacher.  We were telling her how annoying it got during his practices sometimes because if he couldn't master something immediately and play it perfectly, he would just get frustrated and want to give up.  She said, "Which one of you is a perfectionist?"  I looked quizzically at her like, "Why would he have to get that from one of us?!"  Shawn looked at me like, "Really?!  Are you seriously that un-self-aware?!"  Oh.  Yeah.  I guess that's me.

Worst yet:  Shawn had terrible feet problems as a boy.  He had to wear corrective shoes until he was in the sixth grade.  His feet would curl under and he couldn't even walk across the room as a toddler without falling down.  So, when Spence was born with simple- and complex-syndactyly* of his feet, well, I didn't breed with the best genetic stock...  Then I broke my toe and our friend Kyle took an x-ray for us.  As we all gathered around his desk waiting for his esteemed, professional diagnosis of my toe he said, "Yep.  You broke it.  But, huh.  Your pinky toe's all [messed] up. (And no. Kyle did not say "messed".  Rude.)  The bones are fused together."  Shawn and I both exchanged looks.  His said, "Uh huh.  I knew you always thought it was my fault."  Mine that said, "Oh my gosh - I am SO sorry!  I always thought it was your fault!"

Oh yeah, Shawn?!  Well... he got your eyelashes.  So, there.

It is such a beautiful thing when you see the positive traits you've passed on to your children. And, it is so, so humbling otherwise.

*In simple syndactyly, adjacent toes are joined by soft tissue - often called "webbed".
*In complex syndactyly, the bones of adjacent digits are fused.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Dear Mom,

Thanks for teaching me that you can say anything in the world - it's just the way you say it.

Thanks for always dropping everything to help in a crisis.

Thanks for teaching me to love reading.

Thanks for all the family vacations.

Thanks for teaching me to "be nice."

Thanks for teaching me by example that if you try to look your best, you feel better.

Thanks for coming to every. single. performance I've ever had.

Thanks for always paying because "you're the mom."

Thanks for single-handedly getting our family through the postpartum crisis of '03.

Thanks for never throwing your hands up and giving up on me when I'm cranky.

Thanks for thinking I'm cooler than I am.

Thanks for being one of our family's biggest fans.

And when I was little:
Thanks for flying with me to L.A. because I really, really, really wanted to perform in that talent showcase (even though I'm sure you knew what the odds were I would be "discovered").

Thanks for re-dyeing my favorite dress after I tried to get that spot out with bleach.

Thanks for making homemade Play-doh for Brandy and me (just like they did on Zoom).

Thanks for giving us boundaries.

Thanks for making road trips fun.

Thanks for letting me stir the milk, butter and "cheese powder" in the macaroni and cheese.

Thanks for taking us to Jazzercise with you - I'll never listen to Neil Diamond's "Forever in Blue Jeans" without thinking of it.

But, mostly:
Thanks for loving us (and me) with every fiber of your being, to the absolute, very best of your ability.

Happy (belated) Mother's Day.  I love you.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Busy, busy, busy

I vaguely remember the end of school being just this busy last year.  But, then, it's such a blur of activity, my memory is a little overwhelmed.  But, here's a brief recap of the past week:

Kindergarten performed the homily in chapel on Wednesday, Cinco de Mayo.  As I'm sure you'll remember, they've been studying Mexico and had some pretty awesome stuff to share, including the song "Si, Cristo Me Ama."

On the same day, the Kindergarten tumblers performed.

The next day, Thursday, was a groundbreaking for the new Learning Center our school is building.  Spencer got to be the Kindergarten boy representative - and wear a hardhat.  Our little introvert didn't even mind being the center of attention if it meant he got to dig in the playground with a golden shovel!

Spence and Lizzy

Friday was the Preschool Mother's day tea.

Saturday, I had a church meeting and Shawn needed to help his dad "work" some cattle.  So, he took the kids to Amarillo with him.  Elizabeth got to hang out with G'ma and Spencer helped the menfolk.

Having not grown up in a ranching family, I'm a little hazy on the details of "working" cattle, which is probably for the best.  But, the best I can gather is that the calves get immunizations, branded and, if they're male, they get "cut".  *gulp*  I wondered if that would traumatize my City Boy.  But, evidently, when they met the girls for lunch, Spence was really proud to tell G'Ma that "G'Pa cut off the cows' nuts."  Then he told her not to tell Mom because that was pasture talk.  (Sorry, G'Ma, guess they forgot to tell him that G'Ma doesn't need to hear pasture talk either!)  That night, Shawn and I went on a date and Priscilla told us that, at the end of prayers, Spencer said, "And God bless the cows that got their nuts cut off."  (We talked to G'Ma the next day for Mother's Day and she said all the calves were just fine, so your prayers must have worked, buddy.)

Elizabeth even had her own special cattle experience.  They were looking at some calves through a fence and one pawed the ground.  EA decided it was dancing, so she did her recital dance for it.  Later, whenever Spence would approach the fence, the calf would move away.  But, if EA went up to the fence, it would stay.  Awww!  It liked your dance, Lulu!  She's our own little "Calf Whisperer".

Sunday was Mother's Day and I was treated most fabulously by my darling brood.

Monday I took my car in to get its regularly schedule tune-up, and to get the side-view mirror fixed from where I slammed it into the side of the garage (just keep reading, we don't need to dwell on that).  Luckily, my back breaks are worn down, so I get to buy new breaks, too (I really hope you can read the sarcasm in that).  *Cha. Ching.*  I'm sure I need to drop some coins in the therapy fund for Spencer's calf cutting experience, but I can't afford it now.  He's on his own to find a way to deal with this one.  Mama's broke.

So, Shawn's at the mercy of the kindness of his co-workers if he needs to go anywhere during the work hours since I've commandeered his car.  Hey.  I still have to get things done around here.  This household doesn't run itself, you know.  And, it requires a vehicle to shuttle these little people around.  (And, to go where I want to go.  What?  Who said that?)

Maybe life will slow down once summer gets here.  Oh, who am I kidding?

Here's to the beautiful insanity!

Friday, May 07, 2010

Mother's Day Tea

The preschool class had a Mother's Day Tea for us today. *heart swelling*  They made us plaster wall hangings with their hand prints, gave us poems and made placemats to use for the goodies they served us.  And, I'm not sure about all the other moms, but my hostess was even sweet enough to eat all of my treats for me (she didn't want me to wear myself out, I'm sure).

One of the other gifts they gave us was a questionnaire their wonderful teacher had helped them fill out.  Mine read like this:

"There's No One Exactly Like My Mom"

My mother is very special.
She is 18 feet tall.
(I'm tall.)
She weighs 51 pounds.
(And skinny.)
My mother is 4 years old.
(Well, I am older than she is - and she's 3.)
She wears a size 58 dress.
She wears a size 50 hard shoe.
(Trust me.  You do not want to wear a "soft" shoe.)
My mother has blue eyes.
Her favorite thing to drink is Crystal Light.
(I'm just so, so glad she didn't answer "vodka".)
Her favorite food to eat is chicken.
(Funny.  I thought that was Lulu's favorite thing to eat...)
My mother's favorite thing to do at home is help me do my dance.
(I do love that, Elle.)
The very best thing about my mother is that she is "MY" mother.
I love her very much!

Preschool 3
May 7, 2010

Have a wonderful Mother's Day weekend.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Commercial Blog

OK.  I'm just going to change the name of this blog to "Cool Commercials".  Obviously, all I do now is post commercial after commercial for your viewing pleasure.

But, this one will tug at your heart.  It was on my friend Mindy's blog.  And, it sums up the way I've been feeling lately.

I'm so very, very tired from a calendar that seems to be on crack.  I even told Shawn this morning that I am going to have to start getting some more sleep... or die - and the jury is still out as to which option it will be.  However, as I was rushing around today, getting another chore accomplished, Elizabeth Ann stopped me without a word, took my face in her hands and kissed my cheek - and it took my breath away. May I never forget that moment. I already know, with a heavy heart, that she will not always be carefree enough to stop the world for kisses...

And I realize that life is going, oh, so fast.  My "babies" are such big "kids".  But, I'm too tired at the moment to put that sentiment into an eloquent blog post.  And, then, low and behold, Mindy summed it up perfectly by posting this:

It all goes so fast.  Enjoy it.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

A blessing from Twitter

I've finally given in.  I'm learning to tweet.  And, something positive has already come of it (aside from discovering that my primary mode of learning is "click-and-see-what-happens")!  I made a friend, Nate (via my cousin-in-law, David), who has a blog of his own.  He posted this commercial.  It's so funny it makes me want to die.

So, here's to a Tuesday afternoon laugh.  And, here's to truth in advertising.  Enjoy.

"Or don't.  I don't care."

Monday, May 03, 2010


When last we saw the Johnsons, they were finishing Mexican Fiesta at school (and Elizabeth had "Purple Party", the party the Pre-Schoolers have to celebrate the conclusion of each of their color units - complete with purple plates,  napkins, balloons, drinks and all the purple food you didn't even know existed).  Here's how the weekend went from there:

  • A 7-year old's dance birthday party Friday evening.  It was a kid mosh-pit, but possibly more fun for the adults than the kids (and the kids had a great time)!
  • Wake on Saturday morning for Spencer's group violin lesson.
  • Meet visiting aunt and uncle out for lunch - Ali realizes mid-sentence than she's missing the required hour and half prep meeting for Elizabeth's dance recital in June (and there is a very real possibility that said sentence was interrupted by the words, "OH CRAP!").
  • HOUR AND A HALF meeting about 3- and 4-year old dance recital protocol.
  • Welcome arrival of Ali's cousins K.C. and David.
  • Drag poor guests to a fundraising event.
  • Feed guests Whataburger for dinner at 10:30 that night (it's really nothing but the finest when you stay with the Johnsons).
  • Wake on Sunday morning to go teach Sunday school.
  • Lunch with parents, cousins and aunt (uncle has had to leave town for an appointment).
  • Attend Spring Fling at the kids' school.
  • Go home to change clothes to attend the appreciation concert for school contributors performed by none other than my brilliant cousin (understand why they came to town now?).  It was an unbelievable performance and everyone there had a GREAT time.  I'm such a proud cousin.
  • Take guests to IHOP for dinner at 9:30 that night (I mean seriously.  Think twice before you come stay with us.  You will be eating late and you will be eating poorly.)
  • Wake on Monday to take kids to school.
  • Work out.
  • Read to Lulu's pre-school class for their library time.
  • Come home to find that K.C. and David have the flattest tire imaginable.
  • Spend the next 3 hours getting tire fixed (during which time we had a decent meal - and K.C. and David paid for it.  :-/ )
  • Pick up kids from school.
  • Go to Spencer's private violin lesson.

Now we're off to dinner.  There's a chance I'm going to fall asleep in my plate - probably better not order the fajitas.


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