Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Attempted Zoo Escape

Over the past few months, Colby has been turning his room into a zoo.

In May, his beloved goldfish died and we promised him that we would get him a bigger tank and lots more fish if we could wait until September...of course, come September, he remembered! After months of trying to figure out the correct Ph balance, alkalinity, and which fish will survive, I think we have finally perfected the 10-gallon tank. For three straight weeks, not one fish has died and we are somehow reproducing snails. However, this tank is loud and sounds somewhat like a waterfall in his room!

Also in September, the 5th grade had a Fall Social at school. It is an after-school event with tons of games, food and fun. Students buy tickets to use on these activities -- Colby had 80. Before he left for school that day he asked me if he could put a ticket in for the Hamster Raffle. Knowing that we never win anything, I said "Sure." When I picked him up after the Social, he informed me that he had put 40 tickets in the Hamster Raffle -- but that he wouldn't win because another guy put in 150.

Monday morning the phone rang and guess who won the hamster???


Hammie came home that afternoon with his pink nose twitching. Thankfully he has no tail or I might not have let him in the house. Colby is so good about cleaning his cage and playing with him. Probably because he knows if I had to do it, Hammie may end up in the Great Outdoors! ;)

Hammie likes to sleep all day and is ready to party all night. Colby recorded him for us yesterday and I really don't know how Colby gets any sleep! When Hammie chews on his cage and drinks his water, it sounds like a pack of well...rats!

This morning as I was vacuuming, I heard Colby screaming. I ran into his room and he said Hammie jumped out of his hands and was behind his nightstand. This nightstand has about 100 books in it so we screamed for Connor to come use his muscles to move it out of the way. Thankfully, after about 15 minutes, Colby enticed Hammie out and got him back in his cage.

There couldn't have been a better scenario because grandma will be here in 30 hours and she may have not slept very well knowing a rat...I mean, a hamster...was running loose through the house!

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Dreaded Day

Life is full of people coming and going. These people bring laughs, tears, memories to your life. And, sometimes, after 20+ years of spending every morning with them, they don't even know your name! However, as most everyone knows, I have a special place in my heart for Regis and this morning he said goodbye to me -- (and to a lot of other people as well!!)

I have referred to Regis as "my morning cup of coffee". I have gone to New York City and sat in his audience. I have watched Regis as a new wife, a new mother, when I have been sick, when I have been tired, when I have been super busy. Regis has made my mornings. I will truly miss him!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

When Are You Going To Blog Again??

Sadly, my blog has taken a "blog for a few days and then disappear for a few months" kind of style. It's pretty bad when in a weeks time, my son and a great friend of mine ask me when I am going to blog again AND I hear through the grapevine that my niece reads it and informed my sister that I haven't blogged since August...

Besides making me feel lazy, it really made me feel good and reminded me that a blog truly is a great way to keep up with each other during our busy lives.

So, since August, our lives have revolved around: baseball (shocker, I know!), school, Connor learning to drive, Colby converting his room to a zoo, and finishing up lots of projects around the house. All fun stuff that I wouldn't change, but WOW...how did it become almost December!!??!!

Today I had Bible Study. I am changing things up and began BSF this year. I normally do whatever Beth Moore study our church offers but was invited to try BSF and I love it. It gives a very thorough look at the Bible. This year we are studying the book of Acts with Hebrews, Jude and the Corinthians thrown in.

The crowd of women was extremely light today and our leader began our lecture by warning us of getting wrapped up in "this time of year". It's so easy to get pulled into the sales and shopping and decorating and cooking that we forget to even come to Bible Study, let alone DO our Bible Study homework the rest of the week.

Our lecture was on Hebrews 2. Pretty perfect for "this time of year".
Hebrews 2:1-3
We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him.
Our teacher went on to emphasize these verses:
*When we don't spend time in the Word, our hope and joy go away and temptations become strong.
*Neglecting God and His Word results in us drifting away from Him.

How do we know when we are drifting?
1. God isn't as big of a priority as He once was. Church attendance, studying His Word, even our own salvation are "no big deal".

2. Bible Study and reading His Word becomes a chore.

3. We become more occupied with worldly things.

4. We become absorbed with ourselves. We ask "how does this affect me?" before we agree to anything.

5. We feel a distance and lack of concern for things.

The good thing is that once we are believers, we do not need to ever doubt our salvation; but, we still can drift. We must stay close to Him -- even through the busyness of the holidays. A holiday that should be all about Him anyway!

It seems that many people are "religious" -- especially "this time of year". But not many have entered that relationship with Christ. Lots of people have no problem using the nativity scene in their decorations or reading the Christmas Story on Christmas Eve or teaching their kids about Baby Jesus; but, what do they do the "rest of the year"?? We can't let Christianity be a religion. It is a relationship. It requires nurturing just like any other relationship we have. So, my challenge to myself and to my readers (!) is to know Christ and do whatever is possible to not drift away from Him. Then we will have true joy this holiday season!

P.S. Connor just walked by and exclaimed, "Yeah! You're FINALLY blogging!" :O)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Recreating Perfection

I have to brag about my sweet husband...

Last night, he ran to the store for dinner...he came back with a loaf of nice bread, olives from the olive bar and a bouquet of flowers. He then proceeded to make our favorite appetizer in Italy -- Caprese -- tomatoes and mozzarella drizzled in Extra Virgin Olive Oil and an Italian Balsamic Vinegar. With the bread and the olives, I could almost imagine sitting at a table in a piazza surrounded by perfection.

...I am blessed!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Falling Off a Mountain Top

Today I feel like I am falling...

It's the first day that I have had NOTHING to do and although it has been nice, it has left me feeling a bit sad.

This summer was a whirlwind. Both boys had me going everyday--99% of the activities were baseball related. I had a great tan spending most days outside in the 90 degree + heat! By the end of July, however, we all were needing a break. Luckily, one was coming!

From May 2010 to September 2011, three major milestones had/will occur. Chris turned 40, we celebrated our 20th anniversary and I will turn 40. We decided last year that the two of us would take a trip somewhere to celebrate. All grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins were on board to watch the boys so that we could spend 11 glorious days in Italy (where baseball is not a favorite past time!!).

I can honestly say that our trip to Italy was the most amazing trip Chris and I have ever taken. We have traveled to Hawaii, England and around the US and have had amazing times at each of those spots...but Italy was the MOST amazing! Maybe it is because we SO needed a break from our "real lives", maybe it was because we LOVE spending alone time together and we hadn't had that in a long while, maybe it was the romance of Italy itself. Whatever the reason, Italy will always hold a special place in our hearts.

Chris took over 1,800 pictures. I couldn't figure out how to blog and not end up with a ton of pictures posted! So, I have decided to give a quick overview of what I will think of when I hear "Rome", "Florence" and "Venice". Maybe one day I will expound on each of these beautiful cities!

We began in Rome. We spent four nights and four and a half days pounding the pavement to see as much as we could. From the moment we stepped out on the black cobble-stoned streets, I could feel the magic of the city. We heard that there is a word to sum up Rome -- "historical". Historical it was! I love history so I was walking with guide book in my hand reading everything I could about each sight! Poor Chris!

The Pantheon, Largo di Torre Argentina, the Vatican, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps,
the Colosseum, Ancient Rome -- WOW!!! Some of these buildings were over 1,800 years old!! It just boggled the mind! I think one of our favorite spots was the Pantheon. We spent every night eating gelato in front of that beautiful place. (Of course, we spent EVERY night in Italy eating gelato in front of beautiful places!!)

In my mind, when I think of Rome, these images are what I will think of:

Ancient Rome

The Colosseum
Leaving Rome was bittersweet. A third of our trip was already over! But, we had two more cities to conquer! Florence was an hour train-ride away.

Florence is supposed to be about art. The statue of David is in Florence, the Uffizi Art Gallery is in Florence. We took these in like a tourist would; however, Chris and I are really not art experts. I would get really excited when I saw something from Michelanglo because he was the only artist I was really familiar with!! We did find that you didn't have to be an "art snob" to appreciate the works. They really are amazing -- paintings, tapestries, mosaics -- all breathtaking!

My word for Florence would be "shopping"! This is where all the "big" designers -- Prada, Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, etc. have street after street of stores. And, the smell of Italian leather just pours out into the streets...Mmmmm!

Chris and I happened upon a place that we have named "Our Spot". After having the best food of our trip (all of our food was great -- this place went above and beyond. In fact we ate at this family-owned restaurant two nights in a row!), we were told to watch the sunset from Ponte Vecchio. This is a bridge that was built in 1345. It is the only bridge that was not destroyed in World War II. There happened to be a two man band playing. (Another magical thing about summer in Italy -- every night, there was always some sort of street performer to sit and watch). We ended up standing there for three hours watching the sunset, listening to great music...and...eating gelato!!

This is a picture of Ponte Vecchio.
Sunset at "Our Spot"
After three days, it was time to head to our final destination...Venice!

Venice is truly just romantic! I can't think of another city in the world that is like Venice. No cars; no bikes; winding, narrow streets; bridges and water. Venice is for those who are happy to stroll and get lost. Venice is for those who want to sit at the water's edge (!) and watch the boats and seagulls. Venice is for lovers.

Well...OK...Venice is ALSO for shoppers -- lots of fancy stores here too. And, the shops full of masks and glass are everywhere!

St. Mark's Basilica is absolutely the most beautiful church -- inside and outside -- that I have ever seen! It is literally completely decorated with these teeny bits of tile making up mosaics that look like paintings.

And, then, there are the day trips to Murano and Burano. Murano is the island that makes all of the Italian glass. Burano is an island that is known for making intricate lace. The houses are teeny and painted every bright color you can think of! It was a true gem!

Murano, Italy
Burano, Italy
I think Chris and I would have continued on our Italian holiday if it weren't for the fact that we missed our boys and that Chris's boss might have terminated him and when we went to the ATM to withdraw more money, it would tell us that it had run dry!

We flew home for a few hours, hopped a flight to Albuquerque to pick up our boys and to see our niece marry the man of her dreams and then made it back home at 5pm Sunday night. School started Monday morning! We definitely eeked out every last bit of summer that we could!

The boys are loving their schools/classes/teachers. I finally got "back to normal" and knew that today would come...

...that sad, depressed feeling of being back to reality; that the next vacation is a long way away; that we were back in Houston for 24 hours and baseball was in full swing again. Then I realized that I am spoiled and I need to be so thankful for the time we had and the life I have and that has helped my fall from the mountain...

Well...that AND knowing I get to climb to the top of THIS mountain with my iron!! Ahhh! At least the landing will be soft!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

"I Do"

Nineteen and twenty-one...

We were just babies in reality. However, we thought we had it all together and knew it all too. We really only knew one thing...we HAD to be with each other 24/7 for the rest of our lives...

So, on July 13, 1991, we said "I do" to each other and promised to "hold each other from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, from this day forward until death do us part."

Did we really understand those vows?? Did I really think about where we would be 20 years from that moment and what it would take to get there??? No.

Weddings are an exciting time of planning and prepping and spending. People tell you not to concentrate on the wedding; but, instead to concentrate on the marriage. Twenty years later I can agree with that -- but as a 19-year-old -- that was VERY hard! I was more worried about whether my bridesmaids would wear their hair up or down; if we should put toile bows around the candelabras; what to pack for our honeymoon...

The wedding came and went; the honeymoon came and went; the real world began and we were married College Students, then in the working world, then parents...

If someone had told me at 7pm on July 13, 1991 that in the next twenty years we would move nine times and never live close to family; that we would live in a mouse-infested, ceiling-falling-down-house while in college; that we would have an extremely strong-willed firstborn that would test me beyond what I thought I could handle; that we would be through family illnesses and deaths and marriages and births; that I would spend the past four or five anniversaries eating hot dogs at a baseball park cheering our boys on to victory...would I have still said "I do"?

This makes me realize why God does not let us get a sneak peak at the future. At 19, if I knew I wasn't going to be able to go shopping with my mom every Saturday like we had for about 19 years, I might have thought a little harder. That would have been the wrong decision. God knew I did not need to shop every Saturday with my mom -- in fact, when we do get those several Saturdays a year to shop together, they are much more precious to me.

God is pretty smart. And there is nothing on that list that I would change now. I can look back and see how it has shaped our lives. And our life is blessed beyond measure. I am married to my best friend.

Makes me wonder what the next 20 years hold...

...I really only know one thing...I HAVE to be with Chris 24/7 for the rest of our lives!

Monday, June 27, 2011

McDonald's And The Circle of Life

We go like crazy around here so cooking a homemade meal does not happen often. Plus, I don't like to cook!

We usually hit every fast food place around and some not-so fast foods places as well.

Today, I found myself eating from McDonald's not once, but twice! I do have to say that I crave their Southwest Chicken Salad and now have Connor loving them too. I went for groceries right before lunch and since McDonald's is right there in Walmart, I grabbed two salads and headed home. (As I reread this, I realize this tells ALOT about me...I just finished grocery shopping and haven't eaten at home yet!! Hmmmm.....)

Connor had a baseball game tonight and had to be dropped off at dinner time. I told Colby we could grab some dinner and then head to the game. He chose...McDonald's.

As I sat in the booth with Colby, eating my burger and fries, I watched two young mothers come in with their daughters and I realized something: McDonald's is at the core of every life cycle.

You see, I USED to be that mother. I can remember that my girlfriends and I would head to McDonald's when it was either too cold or too hot outside. We had to take the kids somewhere to blow off steam -- and get a Happy Meal or an ice cream cone. The adults would sit in that area that smelled like feet and sweat and fries and have some "adult conversation" in between needing to take kids to the potty or break up a fight between another kid whose mom was NOT paying any attention to what her child was doing!!

I am now in that stage of life where we have to run through drive-thrus in between activities to grab something to fill my teen's and preteen's stomachs. The $1 Diet Cokes are also a big attraction!

And as I sat in the booth tonight I also had a flashback to the other group of people who were filling up the tables when I would take my toddlers into McDonald's -- I guess that is the stage I will hit next. The one where all the retired folks gather around for early morning coffee and an Egg McMuffin and discuss the events of the world or relive the memories of the past.

I mistakenly thought that after my kids reached a certain age, McDonald's would be behind me. I guess it never will...I sure hope they keep the $1 Cokes and Southwest Chicken Salads around for another 50 years!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Master Packer

Before I got married, there was a certain method to my packing a suitcase...pile everything I wanted to take into a pile and then cram it in! If it all didn't fit, I'd just bring another suitcase!

That method abruptly changed soon after our wedding when the whole Marshall clan went to Hawaii for two weeks. I was informed that I would have one suitcase -- for TWO WEEKS!! I don't remember how that turned out...evidently it did 'cuz I'm still married and I've traveled lots with the whole Marshall clan so I wasn't "kicked out" based on my packing skills!!

I guess I just don't have the packing gene. Chris does. He is The Master Packer. The boys and I love to sit and watch Chris pack a suitcase. He is very organized and there is not a space that goes unused. It probably also helps because he does not take a lot of stuff. Weird!

He left today for two weeks in China. Here is his pile...FOR TWO WEEKS!!

I sat there and watched him pack it neatly into his just-a-size-above-a-carry-on suitcase...

...and quickly reminded him that in six weeks when we leave for Italy, his packing skills will get a challenge!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Summer "Vacation" Day 1

Here is our schedule for Day One of our 2011 Summer Vacation:

6:30am - start laundry
8am - Connor at church to work recreation for VBS
8:10am - grocery store
9:30am - home to finish laundry and clean as much of house as possible
12pm - pick up Connor from church
2:30pm - Connor to pitching lessons
3-4pm - Connor to conditioning
3:30-4pm - Colby to guitar lessons
4:15pm - feed Connor dinner
5pm - drop Connor off at school for baseball game
5:45 - feed Colby dinner
6:30pm - Connor's game begins
6:30pm - Colby at church for VBX
8:30pm - Connor's game ends
9pm - pick up Colby from church

...start it all over again tomorrow!

When does school start again?!?

Friday, June 3, 2011

I Know You Are At The Edge of Your Seats

It's finally over...my baby graduated from elementary school yesterday. I had really been dreading the day that Colby would be finished with Buckalew. It has been a great school for both boys. I figured that I would need a box of kleenex and would completely embarrass my husband and son as I sat and sniffed and blew!

Well....I did not use ONE kleenex -- not one! Not one tear fell down my cheek... Not sure why; but, I was fine!

I was filled with happiness at the fortune we have to live in a place where I know for a fact that his next school is just as good as the one he is leaving. I was filled with pride as I saw him on that stage and was reminded of how he has learned, grown and matured. He even received the President's Award for Educational Excellence just like his brother did five years before.

A big swim party for the 200 4th graders ended their day. He was having a great day and I loved watching him with his buddies. When I picked him up, he was exhausted and excited for summer!

He is SO ready for summer, he couldn't wait for his dad to give him his "Summer 'Do"!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

It's All In the DNA

It is no secret that my men LOVE cars. All kinds of cars -- new cars, old cars, fast cars, loud cars, FAST cars...

The highlight of Colby's weekend is taking a drive with Dad in the Corvette. I always know when they are close to home because I can hear it from about a mile away -- I can hear the engine AND the rubber being left at the corners!

There is one thing that will stop a weekend spin faster than any other thing -- rain. The Corvette does not go out in the rain. It's a Sunny Day Stroll-kinda' car.

Colby got his "dream" bike last week. We discussed what we should do with his old bike. Selling it was the decision we came to since we don't need it. Colby rides his bike to school and locks it up along with hundreds of other bikes, leaving it out in the elements all day long.

Two days after he got his bike, there was a chance of rain. When he heard it may rain he quickly made a different decision -- his old bike would be his rainy-day bike! I wonder where he got that idea?!? Sweet boys -- and their toys!!

So on rainy days, if you should walk into our garage, you will now find Colby's Haro parked next to Chris's Corvette!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

You Say Tomatoe, I Say Tomato

Another last today...Writing Cafe.

Each year in elementary school, the parents are brought in and "served" a menu of our kids' writing. It is always amazing to see samples of their stories throughout the year. They improve SO much! The kids have a theme for the day -- decorating the room and dressing the part. For example, in 1st grade, the parents went to Mrs. Snyder's Seafood Shack. Buckets of shells and crabs were centerpieces and the kids all dressed in Hawaiian shirts. Adorable!

This year, we were told to have the kids dress in black. I asked Colby this morning what the theme was this year. He said, "Well, I will greet you and say Merci." Although he pronounced it mer-si, not mer-see.

I said, "What?"

"Oh, I don't know. But I also say Bon Appetit -- I don't even know what THAT means!"

Friday, May 20, 2011

It's The Beginning of the End

I've mentioned before that this is Colby's last year in Elementary School. Nine days left at a school we have attended for 8 years.

The past several weeks I have had many "lasts".

My last Field Day was a couple of weeks ago. I really expected to get emotional about it. It was a pretty hot day and it had just rained the night before. I was in charge of the three-legged race. I placed a tied rope around muddy shoe after muddy shoe. I cheered the teams on to victory. I counted down the hours until it was over!...No tears!

Yesterday was my last day to volunteer in the school library. I asked Colby at breakfast if he would be embarrassed if I cried and came to give him a hug while he was looking at the books. He said, "Please mom. No!"

As I was shelving books, the students were listening to the school counselor give a talk on what to expect next year at their new school. She asked them what they were feeling. One little boy raised his hand and said, "I'm scared." Yep...I started tearing up! These little babies are going to be heading into the next phase of their lives in three short months. I'm scared for them too! Luckily, Colby watched his brother love every aspect of 5th grade; so, he is totally excited! I can't ask for anything more!

As of right now, I am doing pretty good on laying off of the water works. However, in nine days, I will be sitting in the cafeteria/gym for the last time, watching my baby walk across the stage and graduate. And then I will be standing in the hallway participating in a clapout with the other students and watch him exit the school for the last time. I am positive that I will need to be packing LOTS of kleenex that day!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Everyone Needs A Personal Day

We started a tradition a couple of years ago. After the much anticipated TAKS testing is finished and school is winding down, Colby is allowed a "Personal Day" off of school. His big brother does not like this because he is not allowed a "Personal Day". That's the way it goes when you're a big bad High Schooler!

When my boys were younger, I was afraid of the school system. The teachers and administrators made me feel that if my child wasn't near death, he should be at school. My most vivid memory was when Connor was going into the third grade (which is the year that TAKS testing begins). It was a tradition with Chris's family to meet in Angel Fire for Labor Day Weekend. We had done this for years and had every intention of continuing it even though Connor would miss a week of school. At Open House, I told his teacher that we would be gone that week and I thought her head was going to spin 360 degrees!

We ended up going anyway, but that was the last year that we did. Those darn intimidating teachers!!

I guess I grew thicker skin through the years or realized that the boys COULD miss a day or two and not flunk out! It did take me until this year to tell the Attendance Office that he was taking the day off just because -- NOT that I flat out lied the previous years -- but I may have said something to the effect that he wasn't feeling well. :*)

After combing the calendar, we decided today was the day. He wanted to see a movie, get his hair cut and look at this bike that he has been researching on the Internet.

We got to the theater and found that no other parent was as cool as me...it was empty!

Of course, we did go see Rio which has been out forever so that might have helped!

Nothing like a 3D movie, an Icee and popcorn for lunch!

After getting a haircut, we ran to Old Navy to get some shorts and he found and HAD TO HAVE this t-shirt:
Nice, huh?!?

Then it was on to the bike store. He found this BMX bike that can do tricks and drift and I don't know what all. It made me a little nervous when the salesman asked to see Colby's front teeth to see if they were his permanent ones. When he found out they were he suggested that he ride it with a toothguard! Not a great sales tactic! BUT...I am a total pushover and ended up buying the bike for him. He has said "Thank you!" over and over and come up and thrown his arms around my neck without any abandon! That was worth the price of the bike!!

I guess his new t-shirt will go with his new bike...'cuz' "that's how he rolls" for sure!

I do have to say that last year we went bowling and he got a couple packets of those Silly Band Bracelets...I think I need to put a price cap on Personal Days from now on!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

My Most Favorite Day of the Year

May 11 is the day that my soulmate was born. I believe that as God was "knitting him together" He already knew that he would create me for him several months later.

I have been blessed by having him a part of my life for the past 26 years! There is no one else that I would rather do this thing called life with!!

Happy Birthday Baby!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

RIP Whitey!

Who ever had a clue
That you would last four years through!

This $0.28 Walmart fish
Came home with us because of a boys' wish.

We watched you grow tall.
We watched you become a cannibal!

You were entertaining
You were loved

Rest in peace, Whitey
You will forever be Colby's buddy!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

It's Time To Do Some Growing Up

I have always said that my daughters-in-laws are going to hate me. From day one, I have done just about everything for my boys. I have a somewhat uptight personality and like things "just so", so I have found it is easier to do things myself the first time. As a result, my boys don't know how to do a lot when it comes to housework.

Colby had a tournament today and Connor decided to stay home. I thought that today was as good a day as any for Connor to help me out and learn some skills! I texted him and told him that today he was to change his sheets.

Connor's text back: Idk how to do that. But I'll try
My text: A good time to learn:)
Connor: Ugh okay

Two hours later...
Connor's text: I changed them!!!!

This is the result...

By the end of the summer and weeks more worth of practice, he should be able to bounce a quarter off his bed!

...maybe my daughters-in-law will like me a little...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Miracle In The Woods

Four years and almost two months ago, Colby picked out a goldfish at Walmart that cost $0.28. He actually picked out two fish. One died. He got another. It died (leaving behind some evidence of being eaten by Whitey.) He got another. It died -- and was definitely eaten by Whitey. We decided to let Whitey live alone!

For whatever reason, Whitey has thrived while living in a teeny tank in Colby's room. He barely has room to turn around in it!

Last week I noticed that Whitey was not moving a whole lot. This caused me to get a sick feeling in my stomach because Colby is the most sensitive child around and I knew he was going to be heartbroken when Whitey died. We have always laughed and said this fish is never going to die. What are the odds that a $0.28 Walmart fish would live for four years anyway?!? Sunday night we noticed that the end was definitely near. Colby cried and cried and we talked about what a good fish he has been and how he is just old and tired. We were already planning the next type of fish we could go buy.

Monday morning, Whitey was hunkered down in the corner taking gulps of air. Monday afternoon, Whitey was still hunkered down in the corner taking gulps of air. I even prepared a blog post about Whitey so as soon as he passed I could post it! Monday night, Colby asked us to move Whitey into the kitchen so he wouldn't hear him gulping for air. His tail was bent over and he had to fight to keep his dorsal fin up. It really was a sad sight!

Tuesday morning, Whitey was still hunkered down in the corner taking gulps of air--although he moved himself a tad into the other corner! Colby left for school filled with hope! Tuesday afternoon, Whitey was still hunkered down in the corner taking gulps of air -- unfortunately, there were longer periods between each gulp. Colby decided that when he died, we were going to wrap him up and bury him -- not flush him down the toilet like the burial of "normal" fish.

Colby went to bed and we prayed for Whitey like we had for the past few nights.

When we got up this morning, Whitey was moving a little more. Chris fed him and he swam to the top and ate! Colby was cheering, "Yeah Whitey!!"

Right now, that fish is practically swimming flips all over that tiny tank!

I'm not sure how much longer this fish will be with us but when God decides it is time for Whitey to leave this earth, I have a great blog saved about him that I will post!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What Are You Doing Today?

I'm washing windows...that's what I'm doin' these days...

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Ton of Gear

Heaving the boys' baseball bags into the back of my car is a daily occurrence.

Today, I could barely get Colby's lifted off the ground...this is why...

EIGHT bottles of water -- each with only one or two drinks taken out of them! I guess I don't ever have to worry about him getting dehydrated!

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Few Of My Favorite Things

Chris travels a LOT.

I don't like it.

However, I do remind myself how lucky we are that he has such a great job and that he doesn't enjoy traveling by himself either.

He just returned from a 10 day trip to Dubai and Abu Dhabi. I was so thrilled to have him home that when he started handing me gifts it was like a party!

We watch "The Amazing Race" and last season the contestants had to go through a field full of Genie Lamps finding a certain clue in them. I told him then that I wanted a Genie Lamp of my own one day.

...He brought me a Genie Lamp :0)...

and beautiful vases.
This made me think about all the things around my house that Chris has brought me from different places in the world.

Scarves and intricately painted eggs from Austria...

A gorgeous wooden chopstick set from Singapore...
Pearls and a jewelry box from China...

As much as I dislike him being gone, I won't lie...I DO like a gift now and then!

However, I do look forward to being able to go WITH him on his adventures and pick out a few gifts as well!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

There's An App For That!

It is no secret that I love my I-Phone!

However, I do not have the patience or desire to search through the millions of apps.

I WANT to have lots of apps -- I think it's cool when you have to slide through pages just to find the one you need! :) In fact, we were sitting behind a woman at the rodeo the other night who was going through her apps. I leaned over to Chris and told him how sad I was for her because she could use more apps!!

The best way for me to find a great one is by personal recommendation. My boys tell me all about the games and music ones. My girlfriend tells me about cooking/grocery list ones. My sister tells me about exercising ones. I even have some on my phone that Kelly Ripa suggested!!

But, my favorite ones are the ones that do fun stuff with photos that I take. I have a few...

...like this one that makes everything black and white and then lets you color in one object:

...or this one that lets you morph a picture in all kinds of crazy ways:

But, I found a new one this weekend that I really love!

You can give your photos extra color and frame it in a vignette:

...or, you can make the photo look scratched!

...OR, make it look like it is really old and the photo is peeling!
Now, if only I could get my family to pose for a new picture everyday, I'd be in business!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Warning: Do Not Get Suckered In!!

I've been hearing about this new thing out there for nails -- essentially, you get them "painted" and they will not chip or peel for 2-4 weeks!! That sounded like a modern miracle to me!!

Once upon a time, I kept my fingernails all painted and pretty. Then, I became a housewife and a mom! It just wasn't worth the hassle. I would spend and hour filing, buffing, and painting them only to go wash a dish or fold some laundry and they would be ruined. It was easier to forget about them.

So, this "Shellac-ing" sounded perfect for me.

After going back and forth about it, I decided to give it a whirl! I went Wednesday and while having my hair colored, I had the lady shellac my nails! I felt like a princess -- one lady working on my hair; another on my nails. And, then, not even worrying about how long my nails would stay pretty was just so exciting! In fact, the lady said in 2-4 weeks, after my nail had grown out enough, I would have to come back to get the stuff off because only 100% acetone would take it off. Wonderful!!

Add to that that Chris has been out of town, so cooking and washing dishes have been pretty nil lately -- this should last forever!!

Two days passed and my balloon of hope and amazement popped! One nail was bare.

Three days passed and another nail was bare.

It is now day five and three nails are bare.

You know that saying "If it's too good to be true, it probably is?"...Shellac-ing IS too good to be true! I am here to tell you to not waste your money -- it will just go up in that popped balloon!!

Here are my half-painted hands...luckily I chose a neutral color! Urg!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My Baby Is Not A Baby Anymore

Colby is a Fourth Grader...for nine more weeks.

Where we live, elementary school is kindergarten-4th grade. Then they go to Intermediate School for 5th-6th grade. Then they go to Junior High for 7th -8th grade. Then they go to a 9th grade campus. And, finally, they go to the "Main Campus" for 10th-12th grade.

When we first moved here and Connor was in 1st grade, I thought how ridiculous it was that there was so much moving around for these students. However, I have learned to appreciated this craziness. I really do think this progression prepares our students for each next step.

I also have to say that, so far, we have had wonderful teachers and administrators. We are very blessed to live in this community. Our boys are receiving an excellent education.

Since we moved here nine years ago, one of our boys has attended the elementary school in our neighborhood -- nine years at the same school! I never fathomed we would be anywhere for that long! It is a school where we have met most of our best friends, where I have volunteered many hours, where my boys have been encouraged to broaden and strengthen their talents and abilities. They have participated in class musicals, Fun Runs, Jump Rope for the Heart, Wax Museums, and Reading Restaurants!

So when Colby put on his Fourth Grade Class t-shirt this morning, I got a little verclempt! I am excited to see what lies ahead for Colby...but I am sad that he is growing up so fast. And, truth be told, I am a little sad that I will not walk through those elementary doors anymore.

Friday, March 18, 2011

What Does Your Husband Do On His Vacation??

Chris had yesterday and today off to spend the last few days of Spring Break with us. I had been making a list of little "Honey Do" items for him -- not to do while he was on "vacation"; just so I wouldn't forget to have him get some things done. As with anything, the list grew and grew. He looked at it and went to town! I am so thankful I married a handy man! He is amazing!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Change Versus Variety

I am not a fan of change. When I was growing up, I ate the same lunch for years -- turkey sandwich, chips, grapes and three cookies...funny, I pack the same sort of lunch for my boys EVERYDAY!

Throughout the years I have had to learn how to at least accept change. The first 11 years of marriage, we moved nine times -- and not just to different houses but to different cities and states. Not easy for a girl who lived in only two houses before she was married!

As much as I like "sameness", I also like variety. For instance, I am always ready for the school bus to come by every morning! Following a schedule makes me feel in control. However, I was definitely ready for Spring Break this year and the ability to sleep in and hang out. We really have no plans and that feels good. Shoot, I may even let the boys eat Pop Tarts and drink Iced Tea for breakfast! That's variety!!

I decided that I like variety this weekend when we went plant shopping. I LOVE this time of year. Finally breaking out of the cold, seeing hints of color popping up and feeling the warm sun on my skin. I was ready for some color in my yard.

We headed to the garden center TWICE this weekend and have transformed our flower beds. Instead of getting the same ole same ole, we bought new and different plants. I decided it is OK not to have petunias and geraniums! This year we went all out and got daisies!! And, a Yucca!! And, all kinds of New Mexico-looking succulents.

Yes, I think my new motto is "Variety adds spice to life"! HAM sandwich anyone?!?

Monday, February 28, 2011

How The Shortest Month Ended With The Longest Night

I cannot believe tomorrow is March!! Where did February go? It was so quiet and quick...until this weekend.

Today, I am feeling like the month of February has punched me in the gut! This weekend Colby had a baseball tournament about an hour from our house. His team won both games on Saturday and were seeded #1. A great way to start the Spring season!

Sunday's games went along just fine. They continued to win and made it to the Championship game. We had a two hour break so the two remaining teams could fight out who would join us in the " 'Ship" (as the boys call it!) The team loaded up and went to get re-energized on Taco Cabana tacos and quesadillas. We returned to the park at about 6:45 for our 7:30 game. The two teams should have been finishing up their game within fifteen or twenty minutes. Our boys started warming up. However, it became apparent that they should go sit back down when the game ended in a tie and an extra inning needed to be played to declare a winner.

The extra inning ended in a tie.

The extra-extra inning ended in a tie.

After 6 extra innings (which made it a twelve-inning game for those 10 year olds!), a team came out on top!

No one was happier than the moms on our team. We were cheering for any kid on third base from either team to PLEASE cross home plate! The Championship Game that should have started at 7:30 (which is late in my book) started at 9:45!

I got myself prepared with chocolate and caffeine!

The boys played their hearts out but in the end the other team won. Truth be told, they were the real winners anyway. It was so impressive that those nine boys could play 18 innings of straight baseball -- not to mention however many innings they had played earlier in the day to get there!

We got home at 12:50am. Here is my tired little champ with his Second Place trophy:
Here's hoping that March is filled with a little more sleep!

Saturday, February 12, 2011


We are doing a little renovating to our kitchen. New granite countertops led to some new appliances and backsplash. I can see the light at the end of the white-powdered tunnel; however, I have had to go for about four days without any appliances. I went without a sink for one day -- using the bathroom for my water supply. Luckily, Chris got the sink installed 24 hours later so that is a huge help! If I can't microwave a meal, we go out (and I am not complaining about THAT one!! :) )

Last night, Connor brought down some dishes from his snack and sat them in the sink.

"Mom, how do you wash dishes without the dishwasher?"

Hmmm.... "It's called washing them by hand."

After laughing about it, it occurred to me that in his 14 years, he has probably really never seen me have to hand wash dishes!

When we were first married and lived in old rental houses, I would get up and wash all the dishes from the day before. It was just a part of my day. We were lucky enough to build a house when Connor was a year old -- and I never have been without a dishwasher since.

It has always amazed me at what advances were made in my grandparents' day. They saw the invention of cars, TVs, microwave ovens, and cell phones. Life for my grandma went from living in a "house" dug out of dirt during the Depression to owning cars and microwaves AND dishwashers!

I am so thankful that God chose to put me in this day and time! After Connor made his comment, I immediately thought that I had such a spoiled boy! However, it seems to me that I am a spoiled girl!

Chris got my dishwasher hooked back up last night and I LOVED being able to load up the dirty dishes, close the door, push the button and walk away!

Now, if I could only find an oven and stove that I could load up an empty pot or pan, close the door, push the button and come back to an awesome gourmet meal!! But, that would be beyond spoiled, wouldn't it??

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ten Years In The Making

The first sport that Connor tried was soccer and he didn't like all the running. He was four years old and the only thing he cared about was halftime because they got to have a snack! We decided to try baseball that Spring and a passion was ignited in that boy like nothing else!

For the first few years, he played baseball like "normal" children do...playing in the Spring about fifteen games with one practice a week. We had the Wal-mart cleats, glove and bat. The uniform was a t-shirt provided by whoever was sponsoring the team that season and a pair of $9.99 baseball pants.

We moved to Texas and started playing in the Fall as well as the Spring. Practices ramped up to two a week and probably twenty games were played each season. We were "hard-core"!

When he was about eight, Connor began showing an interest in catching. The first few years all I remember is his coaches and his dad hollering at him to "Scoot up!" when he was behind the plate. He was a little timid but hard-headed enough to stay at it.

Due to some "baseball politics", Connor's 9-year-old team switched from the Little League organization to USSSA, which is now Nations Baseball. This resulted in playing for the Spring/Klein League. Little did we know that this move would change our lives.

Connor's best buddy down the street played tournament baseball, which meant that they traveled all over Texas playing baseball games most weekends until the late hours of Sunday nights. As I would pass their house on Monday mornings and see their coolers draining on the driveway, I would swear we would never become "that family"! We didn't need to travel all over to get better. Heck, Connor's 9-year-old team placed 1st in the Spring/Klein League! His team had talented boys who were passionate about baseball too! In fact, one of Connor's teammates would spend the night and bring his baseball glove because that is what he slept with every night!

It has been said: "Never say never" and it was only a few short months before I was eating my words! Connor tried out for and made the Spring/Klein Hooks baseball team...

...and then our lives changed...

...and we became "that family"!

The last four years, we have logged thousands of miles driving/flying to baseball tournaments. In addition to playing throughout Central and South Texas, we have played in Louisiana, Kansas and New York. We have gone from Fall and Spring Seasons to an All-Year Season only having about three weeks off a year. Seven days a week for weeks on end have been spent at a practice, game or lesson. And, I hate to say it, but, Wal-mart gear hasn't cut it for a long time and lots of dollars have been spent on what has turned into a family obsession!

Through all this, Connor has become an amazing baseball player. He is one of the smallest catchers but has been told by many coaches that he is one of the best. He has worked hard to improve over the years. It has always been his dream to play high school ball. When a child begins a sport at three or four-years-old, high school seems far away. However, before you know it, ten years have past and the opportunity to continue their passion is at their fingertips.

Chris and I were both involved in our high schools. Chris was on his school's baseball team and I was on Drill Team. High school holds a special place in my heart because of the extra-curricular activities that I was a part of. I can't tell you much about any particular class; but, I do remember performances, competitions, and practices. I remember the friendships that I made. Friendships that are still strong today. I so badly wanted the same for Connor.

When we moved to The Woodlands, Connor was starting first grade. We didn't realize that we had chosen to move to an area that has one of the most competitive baseball programs in Texas. We have heard rumors for years about the difficulty of getting on The Woodlands baseball team. This team is nationally-known. Players have gone on to play for the MLB from this team -- including last year's #2 pick Jameson Taillon.

This past Friday and Saturday were tryouts for the Sophomore team. The Sophomore team is made up of Freshman. There were about 55 kids competing for 12 spots. Connor was not feeling great about his performance on Friday; but, on Saturday, his talent was apparent.

(Let me add as a side note that I was a nervous wreck! It began about 2am Friday morning when sleep eluded me and I couldn't eat much all weekend either! I so badly wanted him to be a Highlander but was preparing myself to be strong and supportive if he didn't make it.)

Sunday was the day that the team was to be posted on the website. The kids were numbered during tryouts and their number would be listed on the website if they made the team. Connor was #3. Colby had a tournament about an hour from home early on Sunday so Connor chose to stay in bed. I really wanted to be with him when he found out. Throughout Colby's game, Chris and I kept checking the website (once again, I LOVE my I-Phone!!). As we were driving back home I kept checking. I had just checked about 11:27 but felt that maybe Coach Hill would post it at 11:30. I updated the site and the link started opening. I grabbed the dashboard and screamed, "It's coming up!"

(Another side note...you know how the girls on Miss Universe will hear their name called as the winner and their eyes quickly fill up with tears and they bring their trembling hand to their mouth?? Well, that is a TRUE reaction! I never experienced that before -- I guess because I have never won Miss Universe -- but I always thought that was so fake. Nope!)

The page opens and the first number on the list is #3. I become the winner of the Miss Universe Pageant! Except I quickly get over it and grab Chris's arm and Chris starts hollering, "He made it!?!" "He made it!!" I will never forget that feeling! It was awesome!!

So, in the meantime, Connor doesn't know and I want to at least hear his reaction. I decide we should call him and tell him my phone is messed up, would he go check it for us. Chris calls him -- because I am still crying and would never be able to hide my emotions.

"Hey, go check the link again. Mom's phone is acting funny."

"I just checked it about 3 minutes ago, dad."

"Go check it again for me. It's weird how mom's phone is acting."

"It's coming up...I made it."

"Why aren't you jumping up and down and screaming?"

"Because I can't feel the lower half of my body right now!"

To say that the whole family is on Cloud 9 is an understatement! We are all so thrilled and excited.

As a parent, it has been such a reward for me to see my child work so hard for something and actually attain it -- all on his own. Sure, we drove him and sat with him and spent our money; but, it was HIS hard work and diligence and perseverance that paid off.

And, guess what? The buddy down the street who played tournament ball at age 9 and the other buddy who would sleep over at our house with his baseball glove -- they made the team too!! How much more of an awesome thing is it than to experience this with boys who have a history together!

Go Highlanders!!