Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Charlene and Victoria, and Parent-Teacher Conference

Charlene and Victoria are doing well. I think they will be released tomorrow; actually, they are already released but they are waiting for insurance approval of the wound-vac Victoria is using. We went over to their house today to clean a little and put some food in their pantry and fridge.

Today was our first parent-teacher conference. Emmy is doing really well in preschool even though she's the only girl among 5 boys. She knows most of her letters, follows directions, etc. There were no concerns. I am so proud of her! She's really growing up.

Our friends Mat and Amber had their second baby yesterday. His name is Erik and I am excited to meet him.

Anyone who wants to is invited to our house tonight for rock wall climbing, shrimp gumbo, and hot tubbing. You don't even have to climb if you don't want to.

I am in my skinny pants! I'm making a stack of giveaway pants and shorts because I don't intend to wear them ever again. Anyone need a size 18/XL wardrobe?

I am frantically cleaning.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Joel is home and life is good.

It drizzled yesterday; that's almost like rain.

One of my pairs of pants is too big–so big, in fact, that I think it looks bad on me and I will give it away. That's a nice feeling that I haven't had in years.

Did I mention Joel is back?

For an interesting read on pitbulls and other dog attacks, see this link. It's a longish article but definitely worth it.

I think I messed up on the shipping addresses for my Amazon purchases. Something that was supposed to go to CA came here. Now I'm wondering exactly what was shipped to CA.

Joel is back! Yay!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Charlene and Victoria are still in the hospital. I was blessed to be able to go and visit with them this morning without my kids. They are doing all right, but Victoria's mobility is really hampered and I am worried that Charlene (Victoria's mom) is more worried about her daughter than herself. Please pray for quick healing and rest for both of them.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Prayer Request

I was going to just post about my movie night but I got home and found out that some dear friends of ours were attacked by pitbulls tonight. Please lift Charlene and Victoria up in your prayers. They are stable and not too badly hurt but Victoria is in middle school and will need surgery tomorrow.


I expected to be sitting and talking about how "Facing the Giants" was so inspiring and changed my life. Due to unforseen circumstances, though, my sister Ruth and I ended up seeing "One Night with the King" and I am so glad.

Imagine a love story. Beautiful costumes, attractive actors and actresses, and a compelling story. But the story is only somewhat about the love between a king and a queen. The real love story is about an average girl's love for God. She risks everything, up to and including her life, to tell the world who her allegiance is for and to petition for her family's salvation from death.

I get chills when I think that an average person can do so much good and have a lasting story such as that of Esther from the Old Testament. That would be the greatest knowledge I could have; that people would remember me for my faith in God (and also a small bit for my uncommon beauty ;).

This movie was masterfully done. I am so glad I went to see it.

you could be put in a situation where you don't know why you're there, or what you could possibly do. But God knows. He has put you there "for such a time as this."

Thursday, November 23, 2006


I just came from my morning walk and it reminded me to be thankful.

I am thankful for...

the two little acorns on our 5 year old live oak tree
the mist burning off of the trees and ground and looking like smoke
my little cold kitty
the seedlings which I hope will be coming up soon
good walking shoes
a full night's sleep
friends who offer to let us crash their Thanksgiving meal
online shopping
strange dreams



Wednesday, November 22, 2006

While the cat's away, the mice will play

Joel has embarked on his annual Mexico journey and my youngest sister is here to celebrate Thanksgiving with me. This afternoon my other sister came over and we cooked a fantastic dinner and hung out. It is lots of fun and I'm looking forward to more fun. We've already planned outings where one sister (not me) babysits and another sister goes out with me. It will be great.

Our dinner was delicious and fairly easy to make.

I ordered lots of Christmas presents online and I'm excited about them. I think I got some really good stuff this year. You know how some years it seems as though the gifts are just dutiful and not really fun; this year is the opposite. I feel as though I have gotten into people's heads and really chosen some good stuff. Of course you'll have to check back in a month to see if I was right.

My office is nicely arranged but Joel took the camera with him. You will all just have to live in suspense–or–come visit me!

Well we are watching Antiques Roadshow so I'll sign off.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

My Office

My office is frustrating sometimes. Joel and I try to keep the papers under control but sometimes they control us, especially with a very artsy 4 year old. She can make 20 pieces of junk art in one afternoon.

Anyway today we gave a cabinet back to its rightful owner and therefore the things that had been stored in that cabinet were suddenly all over the place, in a room that already seemed cluttered. In a panic I tried to convince Joel I should go to IKEA immediately and purchase a pretty office. He kindly reminded me that we have no money. So I called my good friend Mandi to come stare at it with me and maybe give me some ideas of what to do with no money and a bunch of junk important papers.

She and I looked at everything, I threw away a bunch of stuff, and now it's starting to look usable again. Sometime I will post pictures of what you can do with an office even when it's composed of old, non-matching furniture.

Now I need to read to my little boy.

Emlyn's Preschool

Today was Emlyn's first performance. Her school put on a program for Thanksgiving and it was hilarious. If you have never seen 25 4-year-olds do a performance, you're missing out.

At any given time 1/3 of them had their fingers in their noses. A couple of kids never stopped goofing off. At one point one of them was fooling around and almost fell off the stage.

It was great. There were lots of parents there and after the program we all sat down and ate lunch together.

Emmy asked me beforehand to make sure Denali did not go up on the stage.


Christmas Decorations

You all were so excited to see what I did instead of a real tree, so by popular demand here are our Christmas Decorations for this year. You'll notice the skillful origami made by Joel, the beautiful tree drawn by me, and the artful placement by Emlyn.

The other picture is of our hearth. I put our treeskirt and some stockings up there, along with the Christmas tins I use to hold our ornaments. That, by the way, is a great way to store ornaments. The tins are decorations in their own right, and they are small enough that the items don't get crushed or bumped around too much. Then I stack them into large bins that can also accomodate the big things like treeskirts, wreaths, and lights.

That's another tip for you: store each strand of lights in a giant ziploc. They may be tangled, but at least they are only tangled with themselves and not each other.

We are officially ready for Christmas season. Bring it on!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Faux Christmas Tree

This year because we are going to California we are not buying a real tree. SOB.

I just can't handle not having a tree, so I will be taking a tip from my mom and making a tree out of green posterboard.

We will use Joel's origami to decorate it and do some kind of Advent thing around the edges. It will be great. Really!

I'll post pics after we make it tonight.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Conquering Separation Anxiety

As a mother and a caregiver I find that often parents are unsure about how to have a successful dropoff from parent to caregiver. It can be difficult because we all love our children so much. It's important, therefore, to make sure that they have successful interactions with other adults that we trust so that they can be at ease in life. In light of these difficulties I'd like to lay out some tips for leaving your child in Bible class, at the gym, with the babysitter, or even with the parent he doesn't see as often.

Disclaimer: This is, of course, in situations where you trust the caregiver. If you don't trust the caregiver, you shouldn't be leaving them at all.

Steps to a Successful Dropoff:

1. Prepare the child beforehand. "I'm going to drop you off with Miss Susie for a little while while I exercise. I'll be back soon!"
2. Enter with a smile and greet the caregiver. "Hi, Miss Susie! Joey is going to play with you for a while!"
3. Help Joey find a toy or activity. Don't drag it out, just show him a book or something.
4. If you need to tell the teacher anything, make it short and sweet. "Joey just had a snack but will probably want something to drink soon."
5. Say "goodbye" and walk out. Don't look back.

It's important to keep the whole thing to just a minute or two. The longer you are there the more trouble you will have. It's also important that you actually say goodbye so the child doesn't feel betrayed that you snuck out.

Here's the caregiver's end of the bargain:
1. Miss Susie will call you if she feels the child is too distressed. She is good at this sort of thing and knows you're worried.
2. Miss Susie will engage your child in a fun activity and be reassuring. "Momma will be back soon!"

One of the reasons a prolonged goodbye makes the situation worse is because while the parent is worried that the child will miss them, the child just senses the parent's distress and thinks it's because there's an unsafe situation.

In my experience there have only been a couple of times when the child did not calm down within 15 minutes of his mommy or daddy leaving.

Some things not to say:
"Momma won't let these people hurt you!" This implies these people want to hurt Joey but momma is protecting them. Not a good thing.
"I'm not leaving!" Yes, you are leaving. That's the point.
"I'll give you some candy or a new toy if you stay here!" Bribery.

I know it's hard to leave someone you love so dearly. You care about your sweet child. But your anxiety about leaving them makes everything worse. Even if they were already somewhat anxious, you can fake them out with your smile and apparent nonchalance. It's perfectly okay to go around the corner of the building and cry for a few minutes. I know I've done that. The important thing is that you teach Joey how to trust others.


I'm downsizing all over the place today. Here's a list (just for my own edification, mostly) of the CDs I'm selling to Half Price Books in a few minutes.

Parallel Dreams
Mask and the Mirror
Lord of the Rings the Two Towers
La Bamba
The Celts
Talk on Corners
Best of the Chieftains
Celtic Woods
Celtic Bagpipe
Depressed? Stay Depressed.
Soundtrack for World Travel
Bluegrass Class of 1990
Little Deuce Coupe

Friday, November 17, 2006

Wildflowers and Torture

Joel and Denali on our recent camping trip.

Emmy and Denali helping me plant the wildflower seeds.

Emmy has renamed one of her baby dolls "torture." Quite interesting. I guess I need to stop using the phrase my sister has been using recently or we will have certain words in our familial vocabulary that shouldn't be there.

We FINALLY got the wildflower bed done. This morning we planted the seeds and now it's up to God to do the rest. The blackberries will be waiting until the spring and the salvia/lantana bed has to wait till our fence is redone.

Joel bought our plane tickets last night. We will be leaving here and flying direct to San Jose, CA, on December 20. Joel will come home on the 28th and the kids and I will stay in CA till the 4th of January. Denali's second birthday is the 5th so maybe we can do a birthday party there for him.

I am so excited about the trip. It's been over a year since I was there and I just love CA so much.

Emmy is still sick with fever, and she threw up a little this morning. I felt bad going to HEB with her but I HAD to go before next week's Thanksgiving craziness. I bought a fancy turkey to cook even though we are not celebrating at home. Joel will be in Mexico so we're visiting a friend's meal on the day of and just hanging out having fun the rest of the week. Thankfully preschool is still meeting on Monday and Tuesday.

Going to watch some more TV.

IKEA Madness

IKEA has finally come to our town, and while I had never been before last night, I can see why people love it so much.

The grand opening was Wednesday and there were people camped in the parking lot for two days for the honor of being first in the store. Their first day they sold $500,000 worth of merchandise. That's a lot. So last night, after babysitting for 4 1/2 hours and having a sick girl (which always means lots of TV and no leaving the house), I got the idea of driving over to IKEA to see what the craziness is all about.

It was not too crowded- we got there at about 7:30 in the evening and it closes at 9:00. There were tired and frustrated people directing traffic in and out to keep the flow moving correctly.

I found some Christmas presents and other little things that I liked. I'm not really in the market for large furniture right now (no money, remember?) but thought they had some good deals on stuff.

My friend and I each spent exactly $41.07 and got completely different items.

Overall I would say it's a good store, but it's definitely a "wander and let things catch your eye" type of store rather than a "get in and get the exact item you want and then leave" type of store. I will be trying to do the second method here in a couple of weeks though so I can get this table for Emmy's legos. She's inheriting her daddy's old legos this Christmas, the little ones, and I don't want them all over the house. So I'm getting this table as a way to contain the chaos. The two shelves lift off quite easily and serve as trays, and there is just a hint of a lip on them so the legos won't slide off. The trays are each about 2 feet in diameter, which is perfect for a current lego project. And it's only $24.99!!!

I think that's a good deal.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

More about shoes

I bought some really cute shoes yesterday.

I have to return them. Within 10 minutes of wearing them they began to form blisters on various parts of my feet.

It's so sad! They are really cute.

Guess it's back to the drawing board as far as winter shoes are concerned.

Update on $35 Shoes

First of all, I guess I should be precise. Each one of these shoes technically cost $17.50. But if you have to buy a pair (which you always do), they are $35.

Secondly, I found it!

In the closet with the shoes.


See we have one of those wall-mounted shoe rack things for the adult shoes, and then a basket on the floor for the kid shoes. But when you toss the shoes in the closet (not that I've ever done that, but still), maybe a kid shoe might lodge itself behind a shoe on the rack so that you can't see it very well unless you look.

So there ya go. At least Denali had some $26 shoes to wear while the others were missing...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Last night I dreamed about my grandpa. He had just had heart surgery and we were all going to visit him at the hospital. After all the rigamarole of getting through security and up to his floor we were all standing around his huge bed. Denali and Emmy immediately climbed up there and started playing with him but we knew he was in no shape to play with little kids. So I got up there too, leaving a bunch of other relatives to just stand around the bed. I couldn't think of anything to do except touch him; rub his arm or shoulder gently. Sometimes sick people and older people just need one thing- the human touch. It really seemed to help him feel better.

Later on in the dream he actually got up and started cooking, playing guitar, etc.

When I woke up I was sad. I was too busy with college and getting married to be able to be there for my Grandpa when he got really sick before his death. He was at my wedding but too sick to preside over it as I wanted him to. Then the next semester right before Christmas (I think) my mom called me and said I should come home from school because he wasn't doing well. By the time I got my plane ticket and got home it was too late. I was just there for the funeral.

My grandpa was cool. I take after him in coloring (red hair, fair skin) and he always used to hold his grandkids and have a great time with them. I really wish I could have said "goodbye."

My mom says it was for the best because it would have been really depressing to be there the last couple days, and that it's best that I remember him earlier than that. I'm not convinced. I should have spent more time talking to him about his book, or about the things he did when he was younger. But I didn't get to. And that makes me sad.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Lost Things

Invariably, if you lose something, the day after you replace it the item will be found.

Yes, that was the case with my debit card.

To make a very long story short, I thought my card had been thrown away when in fact it was in the pocket of my jeans. After a week of not knowing where it was, I finally called and cancelled it. Guess what was in my dryer?

My card.

Oh well. It was time to change the pin # anyway.

Now tell me what I am supposed to do about the missing $35 shoe of Denali's?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Good News

I just had to share this with you all.

We just got our electric bill. We use levelized billing so it is the same amount every month regardless of usage. Every year they re-evaluate the amount. They just re-evaluated, and they're charging us $45 less every month. That's... $540 a year! That's a 17% savings! (and if you can do math you can figure out how much we're paying)

Woo hoo! $90 towards our vacation!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Post 300 and Gardening

The wildflower bed with all 47 concrete blocks installed.

From left to right: almost dead lantana, raspberry salvia, another lantana, unknown stubborn tree-like plant.

This is my 300th post.

This morning I got my exercise by finally finishing the recycled concrete border to my wildflower bed. It took about a half hour and I had to move about 15- 40 pound blocks, but it is finally done. Of course I still have to lay the newspaper and new dirt, plant the seeds, and finish painting the border. In all I used 47 concrete blocks. That's a lot of digging.

After that I went over to where I planted the salvia and two lantanas yesterday and delineated that bed with the bricks that had been around the wildflower bed. Those bricks have been working hard since we've moved- always bordering some flowerbed till we can get something better. One of the lantanas was very sad the week it was in a pot. I only watered once and it mostly died. Strangely enough the other two plants are fine. I went ahead and planted it because there's still some green. This new lantana bed is about 8 feet long and 3 feet deep along the back fence. I'm not going to work much on that bed because soon we'll be replacing that fence.

Our xeriscaped bed in the front is looking good. It needs more mulch but now that the edge is in it looks nice. Someone kicked my cactus and knocked a piece off. That made me very sad. Now I have another piece of cactus. I will maybe put it back in the lantana bed where no one will break it. Lantana and salvia, thornless cactus and rosemary. Those are the four plants we have in our garden that are most drought resistant and don't need any care at all.

We try to make our whole garden sustainable without much help from us. I garden extensively in the fall and spring, when the weather is nice, but other than that these plants need to take care of themselves. So far we've had some die off but overall we've made some pretty good choices. Even our roses do just fine on their own. Our trees are almost old enough that we won't need to water them any more either.

In the spring we'll plant Joel's thornless blackberries along the back fence and then also some tomatos. The tomatos did pretty well last year considering my lack of enthusiasm for watering when the temperature is 95 or above. So I'll do some more of those. I would like to do more veggies but they really take more care than I'm ready for yet. Anyone have ideas for other veggies that are so easy?


We finally got the TV hooked up and it looks great.

Please give me a good reason why I got the car washed a whole 30 minutes before it rained.

Anyone want to come dig holes? I need lots of them. It's very hard to garden with children around.

Speaking of children my 4 year old is making puppy eyes at me. Glad to know I could update you all so thoroughly.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

An Afternoon at the Costco

Well, Denali's sick, so I'll just run into Costco after picking Emmy up so we can get Denali's prescription.

While I'm here, I'll just look at those TVs we want to get.

Oh look. That one looks less than 37 inches wide. Maybe it will fit. I'll call Joel. Okay! Looks like we're buying a TV! Oh. It won't fit in the cart. Guess I'll go get one of those flatbed carts.

Okay. Here we go. Oh, not supposed to lay it flat? Ok. Oops. Where is Denali-with-no-shoes-and-a-sinus-infection going to sit? How about on this handle?

Right. Over to prescriptions. This thing is heavy and awkward. Okay. Now gotta go shop for other stuff. Cause I have to wait for the medicine.

Um. Maybe I can leave this TV at the front and get a regular cart.

Ok. Spent 1/2 hour shopping. Time to go get the medicine. Oops- Joel needed his sleep meds too. Can they fill that really quick? I'll go buy the rest of the stuff and come back for it.

Bought the TV and assorted items. But the checker says you're not supposed to lay an LCD on its side and plus it won't fit into a Honda Accord anyway. And the bank doesn't like big purchases. So write a check.

How are the kids? They're fighting but okay. So I guess I will get someone who owns a pickup to get the TV for me. Can you hold it? For a couple hours only. Well better get on the phone then. Person A: not home. Person B: home but can't do it today. Person C: home but very sick.

All right, guess I'll go process that return so they don't have to hold it overnight. Oops. Wrong line. Oops, you need the TV in front of you. I'll go get it. Can you watch my precious children, one of which has groucho marx glasses on? Thanks.

Oh, you can hold it till tomorrow? Okay.

Okay back over to medicine to get the meds. Oops, wrong pin. What is that dang pin #? How about this one? Or this one? Or this one? Quit fighting dear children! Fine. I'll just pay with my check card. Okay. Out once more to the car.

Load them in. Squish the bread. Great.

We're home! Everyone start crying and fighting over who gets out first! Go to bed! Let's give Denali his precious medication. What's this? Powder? I'm supposed to add 38mL of liquid? What??????!!!!!

Fine. Go to bed. I don't care if you haven't eaten and that you are sick.

It's now only 2 hours since we left the preschool.

Can I just go to bed now?