Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Craziest Thing I've Ever Heard...

Let me set the scene for is a cold day today -- it started out about 34 with frost all over the ground and is now in the low 50's. I know that doesn't sound cold; but, when you factor in the wind and the fact that we live where the air is humid -- it's cold! So, you will never guess what I hear right this moment...the music of the Ice Cream Man!! Honestly??

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Tooting His Horn

I have to dedicate a blog post to my 7th grader to "toot his horn" a little. At this moment, he is sitting at the high school with a bunch of 7th and 11th graders fixing to start the SAT test.

Duke University has a program called the TIP Program in which it takes the top 5% of the nation's 7th graders and gives them the opportunity to take the SAT. If they pass it, they are part of this program through their high school years and will receive information to help them pick out high school classes and colleges, etc. If they get a high enough score, they won't have to take it as a Junior. They offered preparatory classes he could have taken every Saturday in January for four hours each time. We decided not to torture him like that!! We just signed him up for the test!

This week we have been looking over the practice booklet that the SAT people sent out. Although I was getting sweaty palms going over the stuff, he seemed to take it in stride. I kept telling him that we are doing this for practice so that, if he is anything like I was, he will not freak out when he takes it as a Junior.

He has been a sport about this -- even though he is missing his first two baseball games of the season while he is sitting in a desk solving math problems and writing an essay!! I am so proud of him and I pray he will continue to excel in all he does in his life. I never want him to become lazy or unfocused - because the world is his and he can do great things if he tries. So, right now, fill in those black circles, baby -- mom knows you will do great!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Glimpse Into My Future

There was a period of three hours last night that both boys were with other people AT THE SAME TIME!! Connor spent the weekend at RUSH (our church's Disciple Now) and Colby went with his best bud to watch his brother BMX race. After finishing up with dinner, I asked Chris if he wanted to go to Target with me because I needed to get a few things. "Sure, " he said. We proceeded to walk around and look at everything from sheets to video games to greeting cards. We then got in the car and went in search of a Marble Slab Creamery. We have been doing the South Beach diet for the last two weeks; so, Marble Slab was heavenly!!! After we finished our ice cream full of mixins' and placed in a dipped and rolled cone (why not go ALL out?!?), we walked back to the car. I asked Chris, "So, is this what empty nesters do on a Saturday night?" "Yup!"

Maybe we'll mix it up a bit with a trip to Walmart now and then!

Friday, January 16, 2009

All That's Left is the Finishing Up

Chris and I love to do our own home improvement projects. I have to say that this has taught me the kind of patience that I didn't think I could ever have. (I come from a mother who the night they move into a new house has everything in its correct place AND the pictures hanging on the walls!!) It is rewarding to see the ideas in my head come to fruition with lots of work and time. However, there are a handful of projects that we have done that just need a few finishing touches -- maybe a piece of tile to complete the tub surround, or the caulking of the crown moulding that we put up a year or two ago, or the floor of the garage redo -- you know, we just need to "finish up"!

Colby has been a part of every project we have done in this house. He loves working side by side with his daddy and has more of his daddy in him than me. The biggest part of me he has is his want for everything to be just so. He also has a picture in his mind of what he wants things to look like at the end. He is particular and a neat-freak and I am so glad I have a kindred spirit in my house!! Anyway, Colby has learned patience like no other through the years of projects and has been asking for two years to have a "big boy" room. No, we weren't making our seven year old sleep in a crib -- he had a great red twin-sized bed with a plain blue comforter on it. Granted the rest of his room was still decorated in the jungle theme from when he was born, but hey, it was cute! And I really got great use out of that bumper from his crib when I realized it would stretch all the way across his windows and make a great valance!!

About six months ago we went and bought him a bedroom set that was exactly what he envisioned. When it came time to decide how to "decorate" this room, his daddy came out of him in full force. He wanted a Corvette room! With a little searching through Chris's magazines, I found a nice, neutral comforter set with Corvettes on it. We found a few Corvette posters to frame; but, then my ideas started coming and of course they were going to take some thought and TIME!! What are we going to use for curtains? Wouldn't a picture of dad's car from the back and cut in half and framed look cool over the headboard? How about some Chevy metal signs to hang around the room?

Well, the valances were made using the bedskirt of the comforter set. I cut it up, bought checkered flag material and sewed (yes, I sewed!) ties on top to hang the valance up by. I also sewed a pillow with the remaining checkered fabric. Yeah for me!! I think it turned out really cute -- and I can now tell my dad that I have used my sewing machine for three whole projects!!

The pictures of Chris's car were a little bit of a challenge and that was what was holding up the "finishing up" part of the room. After giving the car it's pre-photo session wash job, Colby and Chris found a great place to park it and took lots of photos of it. Then we had to work with the photo and make sure it could be cut exactly in the center. It of course had to be custom glued onto foam board and a custom acrylic top needed to be cut and then special clips found (As I have said before, Chris sometimes hates my ideas I am sure: they are never easy!!) before we could hang it above his bed. I will have to say it looks awesome and Colby is very proud of his big boy room. This is good because I might not redecorate his room until he moves out!!

Although he was quick to remind us what needed to be finished, Colby was very patient and we finally truly finished up his room two weeks ago!! So, here are some pictures of before and after.



A close-up of the comforter:

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

I try not to make New Year resolutions. Besides the fact that it would probably just be about "exercising more" and "eating healthier", I just think they are silly. Why can't I start over on February 10th or October 28?? Another thing I have found interesting this new year is that everyone must change out their kitchen towels and their doormats on January 1st. How do I know that?? Because I am one of those people evidently! The household accessories have been well picked over and all that is left are ugly ones!! (Guess I'll try again on February 10!)

One thing I am "resolving" to do this year is to simplify and be more organized. There was not a closet, cabinet or drawer that I would open and something not fall out of a few months ago. I really have only begun to experience this problem. The surefire way to avoid this is to move often!! I didn't need to do a yearly cleaning -- we would just move! And nothing makes you get rid of stuff faster than trying to find a new place for it! We, gratefully, have been settled for almost seven years -- and so has all our stuff! However, it still amazes me that every Monday morning, our big, green Waste Management-issued trashcan is so full that the lid won't close. And, truth be told, some Sunday nights when it is dark outside, we may be the ones who put a few extra bags in our neighbors trashcans!! We are either the cleanest people around or the trashiest.

The first thing I began to organize were my jewelry drawers. I have so much stuff and never wear it because I don't feel like looking and digging for it. Let me just say that the jewelry trays are a wonderful thing and everyday I am adorned with a new bauble I had living in the back of my dark drawer! I have since worked my way around and am almost finished and I feel like I can breathe deeper in my organized home.

Just to prove my point that a New Year's resolution doesn't have to start on January 1, my husband actually took off on my simplify/organize resolution late last year. Our garage has been a true storage of junk. I guess it could have been worse because we could both still get our cars in every night; but, it was embarrassing to have the garage doors open or for someone to come into our house through our garage. Chris sketched it out (you know, like he does before carving a pumpkin :o)) and off we went to Home Depot and Sears! After many weekends of hard, dirty work, Chris is almost done. The floor is all that remains, but the outcome is amazing.

Before (I should have taken pictures earlier -- these don't do it justice!):

The Process:

(Drum roll please...and you might want to put on some sunglasses -- it's so bright and clean!):

The sports wall:

Bare walls!:

The tool wall:

Now the only resolution we need to fulfill is KEEPING the garage this neat!

Monday, January 5, 2009

My Yearly Recap -- A Week Late!

I spent the last remaining hours of 2007 blogging about our prior year. It suddenly hit me this morning, however, that I had not "relived" our months of 2008 on my blog yet! So, because Regis and Kelly waited until today to begin their new shows of the year, I feel I am not TOO late to end 2008 and start my 2009 blogworld!!

JANUARY: A month of both boys practicing for the Spring baseball season -- no tournaments, however! We spent a whirlwind weekend in Albuquerque, surprising Chris's mom who turned 70! Connor went with the Wardles to Austin and walked amongst the Dinosaur fossils! Chris traveled to Canada and England. I worked on Connor's Intermediate School's yearbook.

FEBRUARY: Baseball tournaments began for both boys at Spring/Klein and Cy-Fair and league also started. Colby dressed up like a 100-year-old man for the 1st grade's 100Day's of School Parade. I met my yearbook deadline for February. Chris traveled to China. We began post-pool landscaping in the backyard.

MARCH: Baseball practices, games and tournaments in Beaumont and Spring/Klein. We went to Arkansas to celebrate Chris's grandmother's 90th birthday. Spent a day at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo -- rode rides, ate LOTS of junk food, and saw Brooks and Dunn. Worked more on the backyard and stayed at home for Spring Break -- the backyard our vacation spot! I finally finished the yearbook for Mitchell Intermediate and submitted the last pages! Yipee!!!

APRIL: Twenty-three straight nights of baseball - practice, league games and tournaments in Cy-Fair, Spring/Klein, and Beaumont. Mulch delivered -- must have been almost done with landscaping!! Chris traveled to Singapore. Connor competed in the FunRun at The Woodlands High School. I began helping plan the 6th Grade End of Year Bash with other moms at Mitchell.

MAY: My mom, sister and I spent the first weekend of May in Canton!! A total blast of shopping and eating and more shopping!! Baseball in Beaumont, Spring/Klein and League City. Chris went to Canada. Connor turned 12; Chris turned 38. Connor's intermediate school's band competed in CISD Spring Band Festival and took 1st place! The yearbooks came in and were distributed!! (I will never take on that big of a responsibility again!!) Colby had his birthday party six months late because he wanted a pool party! He just celebrated being 7 1/2!!

JUNE: The 6th Grade Beach Bash was a blast and my son instantly became a "Junior Higher". Connor's baseball team went to Grand Prairie for a tournament the first weekend of May. It is about an hour from my sister so we took her oldest son back with us to spend a week with the boys. Connor went to football camp and Colby and Jed and I hung out. We watched the Yankees slaughter the Astros! Chris went to England. The boys went to VBS. Connor's baseball team competed in the State Baseball Tournament in Flower Mound, coming in 3rd place.

JULY: We loaded up the car and drove to Shawnee, Kansas for the 11AAA World Series! The Hooks had a great time and competed with teams from all over the country. We had a blast and were sad that it ended sooner than we wanted. On the way home, I got a call from my mom telling us that her cancer had returned and that she would start chemo in two weeks and then have a stem cell transplant later in the year. I got home, repacked and headed for Albuquerque to spend that time with her. Chris and I celebrated our 17th Anniversary.

AUGUST: Our family vacation was 10 great days of seeing God's creation -- animals and nature at its best! Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Devil's Tower, Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons -- so beautiful!! Connor got issued his football equipment. He decided he wanted to go out for his Junior High's football team. This was met with much trepidation on my part -- but all ended well!! I decided I would teach on Thursdays at our church's Mother's Day Out program. I met my new kids the end of August -- so sweet! Chris traveled to Austria.

SEPTEMBER: Baseball practice and tourney in La Marque. Chris went to Canada. Ike hit hard. Connor's football team won their first game - with no injures to him! Hurrah!! Mom had her Stem Cell Transplant -- all went well at first. She went home after 10 days only to return about 12 hours later with a fever. She ended up staying in the hospital for 19 days. I went to be with her and my dad for a week and a half.

OCTOBER: Spent the first eight days in Albuquerque with my parents and sister. Before I got there, my mother-in-law went into the hospital with congestive heart failure and pneumonia. She spent a total of three weeks in the hospital. As soon as I got back home, Chris left for Albuquerque to stay with his parents for a week. A week after Chris got home, our brother-in-law (50-years-old) went to the doctor for a sinus infection and was admitted into the hospital to have a triple by-pass. A very crazy, stressed-out month!! Somewhere in there, we continued baseball and football. Chris ended the month in Singapore.

NOVEMBER: Football ended with 4-1-1 season and more importantly, no injuries! Baseball tourneys ended with the Fall State Tournament in Pflugerville. Connor's team continued to practice and to begin its intense fundraising -- Cooperstown, NY in August 2009 -- here we come!! Colby's 2nd grade had a Cranberry Thanksgiving, studying all about cranberries. We spent Thanksgiving in Abilene with my parents and my sister and her family.

DECEMBER: More Hooks fundraising and practices. Had snowflakes falling at our house on the 10th! I finished the first half of Mom's Day Out and really do love it! It doesn't feel like a job -- I enjoy the ladies I work with and the kids! Mom had her three month check-up and is "clean". My mother-in-law is getting stronger everyday as is our brother-in-law. I was with it this year and had Colby's birthday party on time! He had three of his good friends go bowling and spend the night. We drove to Albuquerque on the 26th. Celebrated Christmas with my family on the 27th. Colby turned 8 on the 28th and Chris's grandmother passed away that morning. We loaded the car and headed to Magnolia, Arkansas. We spent the end of 2008 in the small town with all of Chris's family celebrating her life.

2008 was not a great year -- I might even look back and wish we could have skipped it; however, we are a blessed family. I am thankful to have healthy, active kids; a supportive, loving, giving husband; and the ability to be a stay-at -home mom. I am thankful for the closeness of our families. I am thankful for the ability to be able to support, pray for, and be with our family members who need us. And, I am most thankful for a God who is in complete control -- even when I might question Him. He loves me and stays with me, comforts me and guides me. Only He knows what 2009 holds and I know that I can handle it with Him by my side.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Dad, the Addict

I'm so glad we bought a Wii for the boys this Christmas...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

We Will Miss You, Mom Boots

Yesterday, we celebrated the life of a true Southern Lady. Chris's 90-year-old grandmother passed away on December 28. We laid her to rest next to her beloved Lloyd, who has been waiting for her in heaven for 11 years.

I first met Mom Boots and Daddy B 17 1/2 years ago. I was blessed to marry into that wonderful family who made me feel like a granddaughter from the start. During our first year of marriage, Chris and I went to Arkansas to visit them. They opened up their hearts, arms and home to me. Mom Boots would pour me a glass of southern iced tea -- sweeter than sweet and strong enough to chew! We would sit in her kitchen and visit as they do in Arkansas. She had a soft, southern drawl and always a twinkle in her eye.

She and Daddy B have a lake house on Lake Erling and that is where I first sat in a boat and fished. Now, by fished, I mean that my sweet groom would put a worm on my pole and I would hold the pole until I felt a tug. Then Chris would take it from there! However, our boys learned to love fishing while sitting on the dock at the cabin. When we went this past March to celebrate Mom Boots' 90th birthday, Colby had a successful fishing day - making his brother very frustrated! Mom Boots loved to fish more than anything and thought that the sunsets at Lake Erling were prettier than anywhere else in the world!

Fish frys, vegetable dinners, and milkshakes were always a part of our visits. We have great memories of walking in the woods, watching the deer come into their front yard, and taking life as it came.

Mom Boots was a strong, smart woman. She loved every one of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren deeply. She will be greatly missed.