Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

And, here's Lulu's letter to Santa that I promised you:
Come to think of it, maybe she does have this "schmoozing" thing down.

Well, that's enough blogging for today. I'm off to enjoy the family that inspires me to shout about their antics from the rooftops.

Be blessed.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Operation Mary & Joseph

So. You know when you're rushing through the holidays, and the twelve million things on your to-do list, and then you unexpectedly have seven house guests?

Wait. What? No?

Well, that's what went down around here when my pledge-sister from A&M contacted me on Facebook. She said they were headed this way to see her 86-year-old grandfather and all of their sheltering arrangements had fallen through.

Well, what's a girl to do? In the spirit of the season, I let them stay in the stable out back.


Shawn and I played the most heinous hosts to them as we zoomed about getting our kids through their last few days of school. But, as we all came and went, passed on the way in and out of the door and bumped into each other in the kitchen, we actually got to have a few fun conversations and (I hope they agree) made some new friends in the deal.

How's that for a unexpected Christmas gift?

It doesn't hurt that they have the most unbelievably well-behaved five children you could ever hope to meet. (I wish my kids took their shoes off every. single. time they walked into the house...)

And, an additional bonus for me, personally, was that I got to meet the one and only miracle two-year-old Luke Whitaker, their youngest son who I have said more prayers over than I could even begin to count. I didn't get to touch him, though. He smiled and ran from me every time he was near, as I believe he sensed my intentions to abduct him and keep him for my own if I ever got him within my clutches.

Kathryn has her own blog over at Let's blog-stalk her over the next few days and see what she thought of their madcap visit up here (and how close they came to experiencing "The Blizzard of 2011").

Also. They have an elf named Sparkles who followed them all the way from Austin on their visit up here. He must be friends with our elf, Jingles, because they sure did seem glad to see each other the few nights they got to hide together. (I will show you the pictures... Just as soon as I can find the USB cord to download the pictures to my computer... So, maybe next summer sometime...)

In the meantime. Ho Ho Ho! Christmas is coming!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Learning Valuable Life Skills:
The Barfing Version

Lulu's sick - throw up sick. Poor girl has skipped dinner the past two nights and she asked to go to bed last night at 5:30.

But, come the mornings, she feels slightly better.

Yesterday, she followed me into my bedroom when I went to get dressed.

"Mama! Since there are no boys around, we can have 'Girl Talk!'"
"Yes. We can! What would you like to talk about?"
"Ummm." And, then she left the room.

About ten minutes later (I have to believe it was just because there wasn't anything good on the television), she came back.

"Mama! You got dressed without me!"
"I'm sorry! Did you want to help me pick out what to wear?"
"Yes." [Evidently "Girl Talk" = "me telling you what to wear."]
"Oh. I'm sorry. But, is this okay, what I chose?"


At least she was willing to compromise from the short-sleeve cotton shirtdress that was her first choice - seeing as how it was 40° yesterday. She really did make me take off the boots, tights and sweater dress that I was already wearing. Although, she did thoughtfully tell me, "You can keep your underwear on."

Well. Thanks for leaving me that little piece of dignity.

But, I'm am proud to tell you, this girl is a champion barfer. She'll run herself to the bathroom (or grab her bowl), throw up, rinse her mouth and go back to the couch to lie down. The most she'll ask for is someone to "hold [her] hair."

Why do I think this is giving us a terrifying glimpse into her college years? I never really thought that I would be bragging on my daughter's ability to "puke and rally."

Shawn is out of town [I think I'll save him some barf, though, so he can have the full parenting experience]. I had book club last night. Don't worry. There is no part of my maternal instinct that considered missing my night out because I had a sick child. But, I did start to question whether I was a good mother when I left the babysitter with the words, "If she throws up, I promise I'll pay you extra!" But, I felt confident that Lulu was in capable hands when the babysitter responded with, "Don't worry. I'm sure little kid barf is way less gross than drunk college girl barf." And, I told her that, just like a drunk college girl, Lulu would really just need someone to hold her hair.

*clink clink* (That therapy fund is just growing and growing.)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Boy Wonder

We got Spence's Comanche project returned. Oh, I'm sorry. What's that you say? ONE. HUNDRED? Ka.pow!

And, here's that cover page I told you about.
Oh, stop. You're embarrassing us.

(But, yes. That is my facial masque smeared down the center of his part to simulate the white clay the Comanche would put down the center parts of their hair [or red or yellow - get out of my head Comanche report!] And, do you have any idea how long it takes to help an eight-year-old braid yarn braids down a piece of paper?)

But, Spence knew how hard he had worked on this project and he was proud of that grade. Shawn was out of town when the grades were returned, but we had to call him straight away to tell him the proud results!

Also in school, the 2nd grade wrote letters to Santa. Here's Spence's:
As Shawn paraphrased: "Hiiiiiii, Santaaaaaa... How you beeeeeeen? Goooooood? Gooooood. How's the faaaaaamily? We've got a little something special planned for you when you come on Christmas Eve... BRING ME A TRUCK!"

And, lastly, we had Spence's eight year old well-check with the pediatrician last week. (I-don't-want-to-talk-about-the-fact-that-he-turned-eight-two-months-ago-but-I-forgot-his-appointment-and-they-couldn't-reschedule-us-until-December-so-shut-up-about-it.)

Y'all? It might be weird to be extremely proud of your kid while you're at a check-up. But, I was extremely proud of Spencer at his check-up. I just sat back and let him handle all of her questions... and he did! Even though he was shy and a little timid (and our pediatrician was so kind and friendly, it was easy for him to talk to her), he did it! I didn't have to help "Mommy" him through any part of the exam. Now, I can already hear some of my friends (I'm looking at you, Springer) saying, "The kid's EIGHT YEARS OLD. He should have driven himself to the appointment." But, he's my kid. I want to take care of him. I want to make sure he's comfortable and at ease. But, the fact of the matter is: He is a big kid. He can take care of himself. And he doesn't need me quite as much as I may like to believe he does. I came home and said to Shawn no less than twenty times, "We have a big kid!"

And, speaking of big. She didn't have a growth chart to show me on which our giant man child would fit - for height or weight. But, she said you put them together and he has a BMI in the 95th percentile. She said that's big but it's healthy. Then she looked at me, turned to Spencer and said, "Your dad must be tall?" Rude. And, then, for the rest of the exam, she kept stopping and saying, "Eight years old?!" and "Second grade?!" over and over. And when she tested his strength (made him hold his arms up while she tried to push them down, etc), she got out of breath. So, now. When I call him our giant man child. I mean, our giant man child.

So that's the latest from the Spencer front. Somewhere around here we've had pictures with Santa. And, Lulu wrote a letter to Santa, too. Although, she doesn't have the schmoozing down quite as well as her brother...

Stay tuned. All that and more to come...

Saturday, December 03, 2011

My Christmas Tree is Ugly

I've had a "designer" tree before.
It was beautiful. And perfect. And everything matched.

But, this year. My Christmas tree is ugly.

Homemade ornaments are piled on top of fancy ornaments.
The prevalent decorating style is "clumping."
Ornaments are hung this way and that.
Foam ornaments made in Sunday School are front and center.
All of Lulu's hand-painted ornaments with her name on back...
...are hung with her name facing forward.

But, these were our helpers:

And there are ornaments like this:
(that's signed "Alison S.")
And, this:
And, this:
So, I've had a perfect Christmas tree. And I've had an ugly one.

I like the ugly one so much more.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Recap

So. Thanksgiving.

It began Friday when the kids got out for the holiday after the special Grandparents' Day chapel service. Shawn and I started preparing for all the family that was willing to come to us, to come to us.

But, then we realized they weren't coming until Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. And, my step-sisters and their families would be down at my mom and step-dad's come the Saturday before Thanksgiving. There really wasn't anything keeping us from going down for a little visit save a two-hour car drive. But, we can make that interstate drive with our eyes closed by now.

We did have to stick around for Lulu's finger check on Monday. But, come Monday evening, we were a-visitin'! And, Tuesday, we had Thanksgiving. (My mom is so good about "the date on the calendar doesn't matter. We can celebrate whenever we're all together!") And, so, we all stood around the kitchen on Tuesday and cooked a Thanksgiving meal together. It was awesome.

Also, while we were there. We stumbled upon Uno Attack. Do you people have this game?! Well, you should! It's plan ol' Uno but instead of a "draw pile" there is a machine that randomly shoots cards at you - it will give you no cards up to, well, we got twelve cards one time. So fun for kids 6 to 96 to be able to "attack" their loved ones!

Quote of the visit: "Come lick my finger and tell me what it tastes like."

We awoke Wednesday to hit the road home and welcome our own guests: Shawn's cousin, David, his wife, Anna, and their little girl, Cora; Shawn's aunt and uncle, Reda and Bill; Shawn's brother, Will, and his son David; and, of course, Shawn's parents live here, David and Marie. (Notice there are three Davids? One would assume this would cause mass confusion. But, somehow we manage. I guess because there's Little David and the two Big Daves have different last names. Or we, as a collective family, are brilliant and not very prone to confusion. One of those...) Shawn's other cousin (Reda & Bill's daughter) and her boyfriend would have been here but there was a little too much vomit coming out of them to make for a pleasant car trip... wait... I've probably said too much... And, Will's wife and daughter, Cynthia and Kristen, didn't make it this time either. We'll give everyone a pass... this time... but, we expect bright, shiny (vomit-free) faces at the next family-gathering!

This little group of Shawn's family have always been so gracious to come to our house for Thanksgiving the past... four... or is it five?!... years. And, they made no exception this year even though we moved the party two hours further away from them!

They kept saying we were the best hosts. But, seriously. They are the best guests. Case in point: I tried to rescue this mangy, little, mean, rat dog that was wandering the neighborhood one night. But, it wouldn't let anyone touch it, so I just lured it into the garage with a piece of turkey and trapped it there. However, by the time we figured out it didn't belong to anyone to whom we thought it belonged and was really just a mangy, little, mean, rat dog, it had torn open all the bags of Thanksgiving trash that were in the garage with it. However, somewhere in the time that I was told of the mess and turned around to deal with it, Shawn's uncle and cousin had cleaned up every ounce of the mess. Now those are good guests.

And, that's just one example. That doesn't include the hostess gifts, the laundry, the counter cleaner because they noticed we were out, the cooking, the taking us out to dinner, the fun games of Uno Attack (Oh yeah. We bought our own.), the black-Thursday night/Friday shopping adventures, or Anna, the professional photographer, taking our family's picture as a "thank you" again this year...

I'm telling you. Good guests.

And, cute kids.

Quote of the visit:
This one needs a little background.

We needed bread to make sandwiches from the Thanksgiving leftovers. So, after Anna took our pictures, we stopped by Walmart. I ran in while the kids, Shawn and Anna waited in the car.

I came back and announced to Shawn and Anna, "I think I made a new best friend. He was wearing a skull cap, had a crazy eye and I think he was a little bit drunk. But, we had a great time in the check-out line together."

Shawn asked how I knew he was drunk and I told him that he was buying mixer and, when asked (by me) if it had reached the point of Thanksgiving when it was time to start drinking, he replied, "Oh it already reached that point a long time ago."

Spencer piped in, "What's mixer?"

I said, "The stuff you use to make 'grown-up drinks.'"

Spence said, "What's drunk?"

I said, "When you drink too many 'grown-up drinks.'"

And, I truly believe Spence's next statement was meant to demonstrate how he could use his new-found word in a sentence. But, what came out sounded for all the world like he had just figured out his mother. Like all his many, many questions were answered when he looked right at me and said,

"You're drunk."

Whatcha been up to?
Well, funny you should ask.

It's been busy around here. What's new, right?

  • Well, for starters, Spencer had a project due the week before Thanksgiving. It was the student's choice for a subject of Thanksgiving, Indians, or Pilgrims. But, it had to include a visual project, a written report, a cover page and an oral report. Parental help was encouraged. Because the teachers hate parents.

  • Also? I'm pretty sure I didn't do a project with so many components until I was in college.

    But, we got it done. We're diorama-making fools around this house.
    And, although I didn't get a picture of it (because I was exhausted), Spence's cover page was a Comanche Indian with yarn braids down each side of his head, tied with leather straps and a feather. And the part in his hair was even colored with white "clay." Oh, yeah. We brought it.

    But, I think Shawn and I were both most proud of how many times our shy boy practiced his oral presentation until a) he knew it by heart; b) he could speak up; and c) he could look up and make eye-contact occasionally while speaking. Quite an improvement for the boy who hid his face two-inches behind his paper for the entire oral report he presented last year in first grade.

  • I made a Thanksgiving treat for the kids' classmates. I mean. We all knew I would, didn't we?

  • That's just a mini Reese's peanut butter cup upside down on a
    fudge-striped cookie, stuck down and decorated with frosting.

  • There was Grandparents' Day at the kids' school. My mom and step-dad drove up. And, Shawn's mom had to jump through hoops to get time away from work. But, she did. So, the kids had two of their three sets of grandparents there. They got to show them around the school, and take them to a reception. And, there was a special chapel service. It was all very sweet and special to the kids.

  • *We found Lulu's lost splint. In the Barbie basket. Duh. Where else would it be? So now we have a spare (that the darling Occupational Therapist made us for no charge)! This is a good thing. The original splint has been lost again on no less than four other occasions for varying amounts of time on each occurrence.

  • Speaking of that broken finger and splint: we had a check-up last week on that little ol' bone. It's healing well, the doctor said. But, there is still a missing bit in the center of the bone that needs time to knit itself back together. One more week in the splint. She's such a responsible little trooper about it, though. She's the first one to say, "I don't have my splint on!"

  • There was Thanksgiving. But, in order to keep this post under a thousand words, that post will have to wait until tomorrow.

  • And, then there was church yesterday.

  • Here's what's funny. I can drive myself insane worrying about where we should go to church. We've tried going to a mega-church. But, all of our friends that are members there are a part of a "small group/Bible study" that is "closed." So, we never could figure out how to feel "plugged in" - not that the church doesn't try. They really encourage you to come to a once-a-month "Get Plugged In" meet and greet where they'll match you up with like-minded people so you can start your own "small group." Shawn and I just couldn't do it. It felt like a weird speed-dating session to make church friends. And, Lulu straight-up didn't like Sunday School there. I don't think they did anything wrong. I think it was just huge - four classes for Lulu's grade alone. We never knew who her teacher would be or who would be in her class. She would see some friends she knew... but then they would be assigned to a different room. And she told us she didn't know the songs they sang. But, when Little Miss Congeniality with the most confidence in our family is uncomfortable somewhere... it might not be the right fit for our family. Spence liked it. But, Spence liked it because he had a friend from school who was in his Sunday School class - a security blanket.

    And, then my great friend Springer sent me a book by Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies. It was interesting. Clearly Springer thinks I'm a whole lot deeper than the usually fluff I read (Note to self: Send Springer a copy of The Hunger Games). But, it was worth the read for even just this one concept I took away from it. I'm sure I will paraphrase this badly, but Lamott said she was told, when praying to God for the answer to a problem, don't look for the big billboard announcing the final answer. Look at the small spotlight He's shining for you to take to the next step. Then, once there, look for the next spotlight. Just keep stepping from spotlight to spotlight until, the next thing you know, you've arrived at the solution.

    So. I took a step into the spotlight yesterday.

    We have other friends. (I know. Shocker.) They go to the lost-my-child-church (which we didn't know at the time of the "Lost Child" incident). They were talking about their awesome Adult Sunday school (that's open to new-comers)! They helped us figure out where it was, what time it started and were excited that we were there. And, y'all? The Director of Young Adult Ministry that teaches the class? Amazing. A-maz-ing.

    We dropped Lulu off at the playroom - where there is an extensive new check-in procedure complete with sticker identification for each child. Holla! (All of our friends really do say to us, though, "Ummm. So. We hear we have you to thank for this." They don't seem so thankful, though... ;) After Sunday School, we went to ask Lulu if she wanted to leave the playroom to come sing songs with us in Big Church. She did not. She wanted to stay and keep working on crafts.

    Spencer has one classmate who goes to church there that he knew of before we arrived. He wasn't there yesterday. But, lo and behold, his very best playmates from down the street go to church there! And, they did go to church yesterday, much to Spence's delight. Then, during the Children's Service portion of Big Church, Spence realized that one of his buddies from flag football goes to church there, too.

    The church service was just non-liturgical enough to remind Shawn of the Bible Church in which he grew up, but just traditional enough to feel "like church" to him, too. Shawn does not like "rock bands" in church. I don't mind them. This church has a guitarist with singers. Shawn is okay with that. We both agree that the service really is a perfect mix for us.

    As we drove home yesterday, Spence said, "I want this to be our church."

    You know what, son? I think I do, too.

    It seems that we can say Indian again instead of Native American. Who knew?

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    Judge Thy Neighbor?

    I saw this on Pinterest the other day:

    The caption read:
    A group of Christians showed up at a Chicago [gay] Pride Parade in July. They were holding up signs saying “I’m sorry that Christians judge you," “I’m sorry for how the churches treated you,” and “I used to be a bible-banging homophobe, I’m sorry.” THIS IS LOVE.
    This spoke to me like it was using a bullhorn.

    I feel like everywhere I look these days someone is judging someone else. Someone is trying to inflict the life God has called them to live on someone else. And, I'll be honest. Sometimes that person is me. I have to constantly remind myself that just because someone else's life is not the life that I am called to live, doesn't make the other person's life wrong.

    God never called us to judge anyone. And, we as Christians may call it "holding each other accountable" (just like we don't "gossip" - we have "prayer chains"), but let's call a spade a spade. We're judging each other. And, I personally would love to shake the hand of the person who is able to pick the speck out of their brother's eye because they don't have a plank in their own.

    Me? I'm going to try really hard to just love.

    Friday, November 11, 2011

    Dear Veterans:

    Thanks. (Especially you, Dad.)

    With overwhelming gratitude on behalf of my family, and our freedom,

    Monday, November 07, 2011

    Thoughts on a Root Canal

    It doesn't hurt while you are getting a root canal. Still. I would not suggest requesting one. That's all I'll say about that. You're welcome.

    Recovery from a root canal, however? #@$%! I slept 20 of the first 30 hours I was home. I looked like someone punched me in the upper lip... or like I had a terrible allergic reaction to something... or like I got some horribly ill-advised Melanie Griffith/Lisa Rinna lip procedure. And, it hurt to smile. And, talk. It just hurt. And, I kept having PTSD from the feeling of the procedure. But, now I'm saying too much. Just don't volunteer for a root canal. Promise?

    On a positive note: My husband? The greatest. He was Dancing-Daddy-Monkey Extraordinaire! He entertained the kids the entire weekend - except for the few hours my in-laws took over so he could take me out for a quiet dinner. I married into the BEST. FAMILY. EVER. Let's have a competition! ... I win!

    And, now. I give you... A few things you never want to hear from your Endodontist:
    • [As another doctor passes in the hall] "You have got to come in here and see this case I'm working on!" [You never want to be that case.]

    • Doctor: "This is like working in concrete."
      Me: "Well, huwee up. It fees gwoss!"
      Doctor: "Don't worry. It's not exactly making me hungry either."

    • "I never prescribe pain meds. But, I'm going to prescribe some Hydrocodone for you."

    • "We're gonna hope that heals up just fine and we don't have to go back and do surgery." [Yep. That's exactly what we're going to hope for.]

    And, here's something you do want to hear when he's looking at an x-ray of his work after the procedure: "Oooh! That's so pretty!" [This man and I have very differing opinions of "pretty."]

    On a another note: Lulu's custom-made splint? Lost. Already. So, I get to see about buying another one of those today. I'm really excited about that.

    Friday, November 04, 2011

    One of These Fingers Is Not Like the Others

    Yep. That's a broken Lulu-finger.

    She headed out the door ahead of her brother and turned and stuck her finger into the hinge-side of the door while he slammed it shut behind himself.

    It's Thursday night as I write this. The "incident" happened Tuesday night. I put ice on it. And gave her Tylenol. I did tell her teacher about it the next day in case it bothered her while she was at school.*

    But, today, when I was relaying the story in passing to the orthopedic surgeon's wife, her reaction may have been something along the lines of, "It looks like WHAT?! You're going to need to go get that x-rayed [as she's on the phone making the appointment]."

    Sure enough. BROKEN.

    But, now, she has the cutest, tiniest, little custom-made splint you ever did see.
    But, also? Now. When I tell you people that this girl is tough, you'll believe me. I was only telling my friend about it because it was so gross looking. Elizabeth has never complained about it unless she knocked it into something or... *cough cough*... her mother tried to grab her by the hand.*

    That girl. Damn tough.


    *I have "Mother of the Year" forms here. I'll send you one so you can nominate me.

    I also have Daughter of the Year forms, too. Because it's only just occurring to me that every. single. grandparent is about to find out about this wee BROKEN BONE via this blog post. Oh, well. Grandparents - you have to cut me some slack. I'm getting a root canal. That seems like punishment enough. Call Shawn and yell at him...

    Thursday, November 03, 2011

    What's the Statute of Limitations on Suing a Pair of Skates?

    She was just a little girl circa 1980. A little girl with new roller skates. She lived in a green house with a steep driveway. She fell on her face while trying to skate up the driveway. But, don't worry, she caught herself. With her front two teeth.* One was chipped. It got filed flat again.

    Over the next thirty years, though, those teeth slowly... well... died. There was some cosmetic dentistry involved so she wouldn't look like this:
    But, overall, she and her dead teeth got along quite well.

    Until. Last week. And, the dentist said, while looking at her x-ray, "See this dark area? That could be where it's beginning to necrotize because your body is trying to reject that tooth."


    [I'm tired of talking in the third person...]

    So, I went to the endodontist (Fancy name for "Root Canal Doctor." I think they're smart to go with "Endodontist.") They performed a test wherein they applied what I can only assume was liquid nitrogen sprayed on a gauze to my front two teeth while asking, "Feel anything?" Nope. They pressed the same gauze to my "live" teeth. I sat up out of the chair it was so. freakin'. cold. I lied back; they applied the gauze to the dead teeth for.ever. while it sizzled. Nothing. They finished. I lowered my lip over my teeth. My teeth were TOO COLD FOR MY LIP TO TOUCH. I had to let my teeth warm up before I could lower my lip over them. Those are some dead teeth.

    But, as the endodontist said, "Dead teeth do not necessarily mean infected teeth... We might just watch them... Call you back in in six months." Yay!

    Then he did an exam. And, up on my gums where they hook to my lip. Hurt. Like a bruise. He said, "I take it back. You have to have a root canal." On Friday.

    Or be the girl who one day just has a tooth fall out of my head.

    I blame the roller skates.


    *I asked my sister if she remembered the roller skating trauma.
    She said, "Yeah. I think I dipped my toe in your puddle of blood in the driveway."
    "Oh my gosh! On accident?!"
    "No... Not really..."

    So. So. SO. Disturbing.

    Wednesday, November 02, 2011

    We let Spence Trick or Treat, too.

    Since my last post was about Lulu's costume party, I believe I left some of you with the impression that Spencer was locked in his room for Halloween.

    Fear not! I present to you, Officer Johnson.
     Shawn even got into the spirit at his office.
    This is Shawn's half of our costume from the Halloween Party we attended.
    I promise I'll show you those pictures as soon as I see them myself!
    It seems the only lame one on Halloween was me! Shawn took the kids Trick or Treating around the neighborhood and I stayed home to hand out candy. But, we live on a cul-de-sac and none of the other houses in the "sac" had on their porch lights. And, in order to see our porch light, you have to be committed to coming down into the cul-de-sac. The dark houses didn't invite anyone in; therefore, no one saw our light; therefore, I gave away about ten pieces of the 300 pieces of candy that I bought. 
    Sad candy that never got to fulfill its destiny.
    Now the candy bucket and I are having a battle of wills every time I walk past it. I've come really close to saying, "I will not eat you!" out loud. Just one step closer to being the crazy lady who wears my underwear on the outside of my clothes.

    Monday, October 31, 2011

    Halloween Costumes... Halloween Treats... And, it wasn't even Halloween yet!

    Today is Halloween, but our past four days have already been packed full of festivities.

    There was this:
    One of Lulu's classmates had a costume party at her house. Remember how our dancer-to-the-beat-of-her-own-drummer was a Donut last year? Well, this year?

    When we got to the party, there was a face painter. All the other little girls had beautiful fairy eyes. And princess glitter. Some butterflies.

    Lulu? "I want to be a skeleton face!"
    She went from "Dancing Skeleton" to "Día de los Muertos!"
    (Not a single one of you better give me a moment's grief about Día de los Muertos or I will sic Señora Cowden, the kids' Spanish teacher, on you to explain to you that it is a joyful day of celebration in many hispanic cultures wherein they remember all the loved ones who have passed before them.)

    That said. Our beautiful, darling, baby girl... was horrifying.

    And, it took two days to get all of the black off of her eyes. She went from Día de los Muertos to Courtney Love. Equally horrifying.

    There was also this:
    All of my children (including the 39-year-old one), needed treats today. Spence wanted the Mummy Oreos that Sister took to her class on Friday - as she was Snack Helper:
    Found on Pinterest! I *heart* Pinterest.
    Sister needed something different since, as I mentioned, she already treated her class to the Oreo Mummies. So, between Google, Shawn and me, we came up with these:

    They're just snipped marshmallows...
    jammed on pretzel rods...
    and dipped in white candy coating.

    And, Shawn? He got to take both to the party that his office is hosting for the kids of the firm (because his little friends haven't seen either ;)!

    And, finally. There will be this:
    This afternoon. We get to go to Daddy's office party and Trick or Treating. After we get the flu vaccinations. That I scheduled. For today. After school. Because sometimes I don't have a lick of sense in my head.

    P.S. We should all be glad the Oreo Mummies and Bones worked out. Because I had a Plan B. In a moment of frustration, when I wasn't sure I could master the Oreo Mummies, I tried to make a ghost.

    It looked like this:
    And, his eyes kept falling out.

    Fortunately for everyone involved, it never came to this.

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011

    We the jury, find the defendant...

    One of the dads of our Cub Scout troop is an attorney. He arranged a tour of the courthouse for our Wolf Pack yesterday. And, it was so much better than that...

    He arranged a mock trial. With prosecutor, defense attorney, judge and even a court reporter. They tried his son, Sterling, for [cue dramatic music] killing Humpty Dumpty. *ba-bum-bum* (That's the Law & Order opening.)

    As I said, Sterling was the defendant, "Roy Kingsman" (complete with orange jumpsuit, socks and flip flops). The other Cub Scouts were the jurors. But, there were only seven of them, so the three siblings with us got to participate, too - that would include one Elizabeth Ann Johnson.

    The jurors were sworn in. They listened to opening arguments and testimony from
    • Wiley Wolf, who was taking cookies to his grandmother and saw the events unfold;
    • Kurt Kingsman, Roy's brother who was making rounds on horseback with him that day; and
    • Roy himself. (I know! I watch 48 hours Mystery, too, and know what a risky move it is to have the defendant testify!)

    After closing arguments, the jurors were charged with choosing a foreman and deliberating a unanimous verdict. In the jury room. Alone. (I gotta be honest. The other mom sitting with me and I were a might nervous about this nod to reality. We were pretty sure it was going to turn into Lord of the Flies and the boys [and Elizabeth] would never return from the jury room. Although, I did have confidence that Lulu would quickly ascend to Supreme Leader of that society.)

    They did come back, though, - although they came back sans foreman (I don't think they understood that part) - and found Sterling/Kingsman... GUILTY. But, I'm not sure the verdict was based so much on the "facts of the case" as on the desire to "send Sterling to jail." However, the crafty prosecutor did get Sterling to admit on the stand that he liked scrambled eggs...

    Spence is the tall one on the back row.
    Lulu is the red ribbon on the front  row.
    That is the best picture I could snap on the "down-low." I was already intimidated by the judge. When I jumped up to take Elizabeth's gum from her (that she was pulling in and out of her mouth with her fingers), he said, "Mr. Prosecutor when this trial is over, we're going to have to have one of the gallery members investigated for trying to exert influence over a juror." I was scared.

    P.S. I'm pretty sure Sterling, errrrr, Roy Kingsman has a few grounds for appeal. Not the least of which is the fact that he wasn't even tried by a jury of twelve.

    Monday, October 24, 2011

    A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words

    I've been installing the new update* on the iEverythings that belong to any family member that lives in the same town as I do. So, I've spent many hours staring at iTunes and iPhotos. And, I've found a few pictures for you.

    That. And, I figure I owe you a few thousand words. So, I'm going to cheat and use some pictures to fill in a little of the deficit. ;)

    Remember when I told you that Spencer's greatest football skill was his size?
    God bless #14. It looks like Spence could eat him for a snack.

    Lulu was sick a few weeks ago. I gave her The Throw-Up Bowl. (Every house has The Throw-Up Bowl, right?)
    She wore it like a hat.

    On the Halloween Front:
    Spencer made this pumpkin at Cub Scouts:
    Those are lots of metal things. Nailed into a pumpkin. Little. Boy. Heaven

    One of Shawn's co-workers and his wife have had an annual pumpkin carving party for the kids of their friends and family for the past 24 years. It was at their barn. There were 200 pumpkins from which the kids could choose to carve. And donkeys. (The donkeys didn't have anything to with the party. They were just outside in a pen. But, our kids thought they were awesome.)
    Such a brilliant idea for a wonderful, memory-filled, fun party.
    And, that thing on the left side of Spencer's pumpkin? That's a scar. He's a tough pumpkin.

    Shawn and I went back to the Old Hometown for our friends' annual Halloween Party this weekend. We were ghosts. Someone took pictures of us (because I remember wondering if ghosts would smile or not). I'll post them for your viewing pleasure as soon as I get them - that is assuming we show up on the film (because we were ghosts and all...).

    Priscilla came up and spent the night with the kids while Shawn and I went down for the Halloween party. She needed a make-up visit. Since Spence is such a big kid now that he just has slumber parties instead of "party parties," she kinda got cheated out of one of her customary visits with the kids. But, they made up for lost time. There was Toys R Us and McDonalds involved in the 24 hours they were together!

    Those are the highlights from around here. We're gearing up for a cooooooold front to come through here on Wednesday and Thursday. And, since I just blogged about the weather, I'm going to wrap up this post.

    'Til next time.

    *The new iPhone/iPad update?! So super cool! All these advances in Smart Phones and Tablets make me feel like a Jetson!

    Sunday, October 16, 2011

    I'm OK! I'm OK! I'm OK!

    Wow. You people really know how to make a girl feel loved. I have been so touched by all of the "are you ok?"s and "I miss you"s and "just checking on you"s and "thinking of you"s and "keep blogging"s.

    I swear I'm okay! To be quite honest, I needed a break. I was starting to feel like this:
    I wasn't quite sure who I was blogging for. Me? Or random people on the internet from whom I was hoping to get validation? But, y'all reminded me. I have real, live family and friends out there who like to keep up with us this way. And, if you don't like to hear what I say (or if I remind you of the dude in the picture); you can stop reading.

    But, now, because of you, this blogging feels more like connecting with people I really know (or "virtually" know) and less like a job for which I don't getting paid. So. Thanks.

    Now. To catch up. Spence has been playing flag football. He can't run very fast. Or catch the ball. But. The boy is huge. He plugs holes nicely. Therefore, he is one of the best players on the team. :)

    We still have season tickets to the Texas Tech home football games. We've driven two hours there and back for all the home games this season - because evidently we're oddly fanatic like that. Who knew? We took the kids to a game. Lulu h.a.t.e.d. it. We had to wake her early and abruptly from her nap to get there... and it went downhill from there. It finally culminating in her crashing head first into a chair so hard that she had an instantaneous goose egg on her forehead. We allowed her to go home then. I don't think she's too crazy about the idea of any more football games - no matter how cute she looked in her cheerleading uniform.

    Also, we finally wrapped up Spence's week and a half of birthday celebrating. I'm not sure how he did it. But, the boy just kept the festivities going! He had football practice on his official birthday. So, that day I just brought a cookie cake to school and cookies to practice. Then he wanted to take his Aggie G'Pa to the A&M v. Tech game in Lubbock so he could mock him the whole time (that plan didn't work out too well). While in Lubbock, his Nanny treated him to a birthday dinner (with cake). Then, we were finally able to get together here at home with G'Ma & G'Pa for a family birthday dinner (with cake) a week after his real birthday. And, this Friday he had some boys over for a birthday slumber party (with cake). We should all take lessons from Spencer about celebrating birthdays.

    FYI - Shawn and I kept six 7- and 8-year-old boys alive for 15 hours and even got them 7 1/2 hours of sleep. We shall count ourselves victorious slumber-partiers.

    So. That's about it. I'm glad to say, I'm glad to be back. Hope you're glad to see me. (And, contrary to what I threatened my friend Brandon, I won't hold this post hostage until I get at least 50 people to tell me how much they love my blog. ;)

    See you soon. (As long as it doesn't feel like a not-for-profit-job.)


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