Saturday, December 30, 2006

Retraction & Apology

This is an apology to my Dad. His name is not Earnest. His name is Edwin. His father's name was Earnest. He went by Cowboy though. It's easy to get confused. Earnest is Cowboy, Edwin is Skip, Sanford is Easy, and Sanford is Tripp. I hope when my children grow up, get married, and have their own kids that they break this cycle of nicknames.

So - Daddy, I'm sorry I posted your name incorrectly. I would tell everyone how easy it is to remember your given name, but that would require teasing you publicly so I won't do it. I hope you accept my apologies - if you read my blog.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Five for Five

Five important people, five nicknames a piece:

1. Nell Hartleib = Mom, Graggie (invented by Paris), Mama Nell, Sweet Nell (only my Dad calls her that), and Grago ( a version of Graggie)

2. Sanford Foster Jr. = Easy, Smooch, Daddy, Baby (as in "Hey Baby"), Honey

3. Paris = Goose, Princess, Digadum (this is what Tripp calls her even though she hates it and he's capable of saying Paris - the sibling bickering/irritation has already begun!), Baby, Sweet Girl

4. Sanford Foster, III = Tripp, Tripper, Monkey, Tipey Toe, Prince

5. Vivian = Vivie, Little V, Bug, Duchess, Vivoo (that would be Paris' nickname for her)

and so he doen't feel left out.............a bonus

6. Earnest Hartleib = Skip, Dad, Dadoo(inventd by Paris), Skipper(usually by my folks good friend Brenda), Old Man (usually used by me when he hasn't heard anything else I've said!)

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The House is Quiet

Well, it's Saturday night and my house is quiet. Mom & Dad left from here (they came in on Wednesday) to go get my Nana and bring her back here tomorrow for Christmas. Kids are all in bed. It's eerily quiet. So, I thought I'd take a minute and give a synopsis on my week.

Saturday I went on a date with my hubby to celebrate our anniversary. We've been married 8 years. We drove down to the Woodlands mall, did some shopping, and then ate at Papadeaux using a $50 gift certificate that Easy got from work. Yea free food!

Sunday we had friends over for our annual Christmas party for our internet business. We had 13 children here - the oldest was 8. Thank goodness it was warm enought to send them outside! Sadly that meant it was hot inside because our heater AND air conditioner weren't working properly.

Monday we spent the day working on the potty thing with Tripp.

Tuesday (our actual anniversary) We spent the day working on potty training with Tripp. My hubby came in briefly after work before he had to attend a meeting. We made plans for a romantic rendevouz later that night. Sadly, while Easy was gone Viv's spiked 103 fever. No romance.

Wednesday I took Viv to the doctor where they switched the antibiotic she was taking to something else that would "hold us over" until we go see the ENT next Tuesday. Graggie & Dadoo (that's my folks) arrive for Christmas vacation at the Foster's. Took the kids to see Santa's Wonderland (an amazing lights display that is ALMOST worth the $20 a car the charge to drive through). Went out to eat at Sodalak's to celebrate my husband turning 30. Finally he can stop poking fun at me for being 30 because he is too!

Finished all Christmas shopping and wrapping.

Finished Viv's stocking. Well, mostly. It has a Teddy Bear that gets stitched into the big snowman's arms and I didn't finish that. The instructions even tell you to put the whole thing together and then do the teddy bear. It's almost as though they know that mommies everywhere will frantically being trying to finish the stocking in time so they just give you an out. The bear will be done after Christmas. The important part is that she has a stocking - already full of stuffers - for Christmas morning.

Did the big grocery shop with my Mom. Last time we had Christmas at my house was two years ago and it was a MUCH smaller house with a MUCH MUCH smaller kitchen. I think this year will be a more pleasant cooking experience.

Friday we had Mimi & Papa & Christopher (Easy's mom, stepdad, and we'll call him a step-nephew - it's really complicated) up for our little Christmas with them. We all went out to lunch and had a blast. Then we did the present thing. Fun all around. That night after the two little ones went to bed, Mom and I played a rousing game of Pretty Pretty Princess with our princess Paris followed by a game of Go Fish that Easy and my Dad joined. It was a wonderful day.

That brings us to today - the first true family day we've had in I don't know when. After my folks left we lounged around a while and then went to Petco and the mall. We came home and had naptime - everyone napped except Tripp. He played in his room. Then we loaded back up and went out to see the lights at Central Park. We were hoping to get out and walked the park, but it was raining so we stayed in the warm suburban.

Amidst all the activity this week we were able to make MAJOR progress with Tripp's potty training. He now goes over to his potty when he needs to go TT. He even went twice today in the little potty we keep in the car. He has demonstrated that he can feel it coming, and he has also learned to let it go. It's not always easy or fun but we are definitely getting there! I'm gonna go - Easy and I are going to watch Click now that the kids are all in bed. Hope you all have a great Christmas - ours is has already been fantastic and it's just getting started!

Friday, December 15, 2006

New Frontiers

Friday Five this week is dedicated to the new frontier my son is conquering:

Five places Tripp Peed yesterday:

5. On the carpet sitting in front of the TV watching Elmo's Potty Time - this actually happened twice.

4. In his cute little undies (boxer briefs!) standing in front of the TV watching Elmo's Potty Time.

3. On the carpet sitting next to his Little People toys playing in his room - again this one happened twice.

2. In his diaper approximately 30 seconds after I put it on him for nap time - seriously, I think he was holding it until then!

and the #1 place Tripp put his TT yesterday..............................................

In the Potty!!!!!!!!!
We had two success - one in the morning and one in the evening. I've already figured out that when sitting on the potty he can feel it coming and tries to hold it. I suppose after two years peeing in the very confined space of a diaper it is a little weird to let it go when your just hanging out there on the potty. But he did - twice! I'm proud and I'm convinced he is ready to learn how to do it for real. Day two begins when we get back from picking up my suburban from the shop. With dilligent effort and a few prayers my hope is to have him trained (excluding sleep time) by the time he goes back to school in January. Wish me luck!!!!!

Sunday, December 03, 2006


It's cold outside AND in my house! OK, so I'm glad we're actually having cold weather because I love cold weather....when my heater works - which it doesn't. Thursday night Easy commented that he didn't think it was working right. Having been chasing kids and cooking I didn't hink the house was all that cold. Friday morning I conceded that he was right. Poor Viv slept in little spurts of 2-3 hours because she got cold enough it woke her up. So, a very nice tech came out and "fixed" the problem late Friday. He said it was a temporary fix and he would find out how to permanently fix it and be back next week. Silly me, I thought the temp fix would actually last until he came back. No such luck. We had heat until sometime early this morning. Now it's cold. Viv's still fighting a cold, Tripp's coming down with one and its cold in my house. I think I'll be sleeping on the couch tonight so I can snuggle Viv close and keep her warm. I'm unhappy. My babies are cold and there is nothing I can do until tomorrow. Grrrrrrrrrr, oh I mean Brrrrrrrrrrrr.

On a happier note - I want to give Josh Jones a shout out for what he did with our POPS class this morning. Last week Josh asked all the men to stay after for a moment. I'll admit, some of us wives talked this week trying to figure out what they were up to. Well, this morning we found out. Our entire class time was spent listening to our hubbies tell us "3 reasons" why the love us. The cool part I thought was that no one really had 3 things. It was either way more than that, or was a continuous thought on how amazing their wife is, or they got choked up and couldn't really talk. I've never seen more men cry. It was a beautiful outpouring of love. We are so loved and cherished by our husbands. Thank you God for prompting Josh to plan such an activity. And thank you Josh for listening. And thank you men for being so honest. And thank you Smooch for loving me. I love you too.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Friday Five

Five Reasons I haven't blogged in two weeks:

1. I sprained the fool out of my ankle the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Did you know a sprained ankle can make your brain top functioning properly? It can.

2. I left town (and my computer) for 5 days to spend Thanksgiving with family in New Braunfels.

3. The amount of food I ingested while in New Braunfels slowed my reflexes so that it took until today to be able to think and type.

4. I got a cortisone shot in my wrist and had to start wearing a brace to hopefully releive the tendonitis I have there. (Be looking for a Friday Five of things it's difficult to do when your dominant wrist AND ankle are immobilized!)

5. I've been too busy putting up Christmas decorations in my house to stop and play on the computer!!!!!!!!! WooHoo!!!! It's December!!!!

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Friday Five

Five Things I LOVE About Cold Weather

1. Warm Drinks - most particularly Spiced Tea, recipe from Helen's Tea Room in Highlands, TX. Hot Chocolate is pretty good too.

2. Snuggly jammies ( I am a jammie-a-holic)

3. Snuggling with Smooch! (of course that's available year round, but it's just not as much fun to snuggle when you've both been sweaty in the Texas heat all day.)

4. The feel of crisp air on my face when the rest of me is toasty warm in winter clothes. (my fondest memories of this feeling are from high school when I'd wait outside the band hall with my letter jacket on - it alway struck my as strange that I could be so cozy and warm when the air on my face was COLD)

5. My cute winter house shoes from Old Navy. Pink with cream faux fur trim and cute little silver heart bangles that make noise when I walk.

Hooray for a little bit of cold weather!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

O Christmas Tree O Christmas Tree

I know it's a bit early, but MAN am I fired up for Christmas!!! I was at Hobby Lobby yesterday getting some stuffing for the stocking I'm making Viv (side note: if you make a handmade stocking for your first child you are obligated to make one for all subsequent children. If you haven't started a family yet, just file that nugget away and pull it out when you see that stocking kit that looks so cute when you are expecting your first. With each child you have less time for sewing crafts.) and I find that they have a sale on Christmas stuff! Many things are 50% off! I walk around a bit and then I see it. It's beautiful. It's big. It's full. It's pre-lit. It's on sale!!!!!!!! I think my heart literally skipped a beat. I got an amazing 9-foot tree (we have 12 foot ceilings!) at 30% off - I saved over a hundred bucks!!! For those of you who crunch numbers you will soon figure out that if 30% is a little over $100 it was still more than anyone really wants to spend on a tree. I'm considering this an investment though. We will be using this tree every year as my children grow up.

I remember the tree we had growing up. Every year we would get all itchy and scratchy as we shoved each of those limbs into the centerpole. Then we'd plug in this weird silver ball that made a sing-songy bird type noise. We'd ehang up all my snowflakes and all of Matt's silver ball ornaments. ( I started to say "hang up Matt's balls" but that sounded not quite right!) We'd check the lights and fix the bad ones until it was lit up and then - only then - did it really feel like the spirit of Christmas was in our house. Then Dad would say something like "Bah Humbug" and we'd laugh and enjoy the month of December. We'd put stockings on the big bookcase (no mantel in that house) and then check every day with a quick feel to see if there was anything inside. It was a fun time with lots of family time. December was always full of smiles as far as I can remember. Thanks Mom (and Mr. Bah Humbug) for helping us focus on love every December.

People talk about Christmas traditions. My hope is that when we put up our tree this year and set out all of my snowmen (I LOVE snowmen!!) that I can begin passing on not a tradition of how it should be done, but rather the heritage of love that is ours in Christ.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Friday Five

I have several friends that do Thursday Thirteen on their blogs. I don't think I can come up with thirteen things every week so I decided I'd do Firday Five instead. So, here's the first installment:

Five thing I love about my new house:

1. The kitchen - four people can be in my kitchen working on something and not touching each other. This is phenomenal!

2. The laundry room - it has a door, but it is in the conditioned space - does it get any better? Oh, and the Duet W/D!

3. My bathroom - corner whirlpool tub for two anyone?

4. The pantry - it's actually in the kitchen as opposed to our last home where we actually built a pantry in the dining room because there wasn't one anywhere else!

5. My husband - OK, he's not actually part of the house, but the house is a gift from him. He worked (and still works) his rear end off getting it ready for us to move in and so that we can pay the mortgage each month and so many of the thing in this house were his idea (like the wood floors, and the use of the upstairs space, and the shower in our bathroom that our whole family will fit in - not that we've done that). Every time I turn into the neighborhood, after I think "How is that possibly my house?," I think "Wow, my husband loves me and our family more than I can put into words." Thanks Smooch!!!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Testing, Testing

OK, it's been a major long time since I blogged. Things have been a bit rough in th etime management department for me lately. I'm working on it.

Since I don't have much time, I just want to put these few new flashes out there:

Tripp had his second b-day on Friday. How is that possible? We're going to start potty training soon. Pray for us.

Vivian is 6 months old now - constant babble and drool is what her world consists of.

And the big news..........I'm gonna be an Aunt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can you hear the angels singing? Matt and Kara are pregnant!!!!! Due May 5, 2007.

Well, the baby is crying - time for that morning feeding..........I promise to write again soon. I've had many things on my mind as of late and I need to post them to make room for my brain to function!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Easy and I will be traveling via airplane soon so I was checking out the new restrictions. One product that is allowed struck me as funny. For the most part you are not allowed liquids or gells of any kind. There are a few formula/food, small amounts of breastmilk, up to 4oz of saline solution, prescription meds, and.........drumroll please..........up to 4oz of KY Jelly? Hmmmmmmmmmm

In other news, school has started. The kids are loving it and so am I. Both P & T have great classes with friends in them. T picked up his first tummy bug of the school year. I've been told it lasts about three days. I hope no one else gets it.

And one last tid bit. We've been talking a lot about whether or not we are done having babies. We're probably 90% sure were done. We got a little affirmation on that. Last week some friends of ours had a baby boy and named him Brody. That happens to be the name we would have used had V been a boy! So, the last name we had in our little name bank has been used! So, I'm thinking if the name bank is empty, perhaps the baby oven better stay that way.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Schedule, What Schedule?

OK, I know this title was on the list I put out a few posts ago, but this is a completely different topic than I had in mind then. The title just seemed to fit so I'm using it.

It's been an interesting week sind my children came home from there week long vacation with my folks. Viv and I got used to the slow pace we kept while the "big kids" were away. I'm a little tired from the return of full-on parenting of three. I did, however, do something that has made life eaiser.

While the kids were off playing and having fun I made a schedule. Now, I know there are some out there that would say this was way to anal-retentive of me. Anyone who knows me should know that my AR tendencies are random and have diminished since giving birth to my firstborn. The schedule is one of the few things I've done in the recent past that would even fall into that category. It does indeed start at 6:00 am and end at 11:00 pm, broken into half hour increments. Some things that made the schedule are times for food (meals and snacks), times for sleep, times when TV is allowed or not, crafting time, family time, bath time, etc... There is even a list under the schedule of "Mommy's Chores" that sort of splits things up into a managable system for keeping up with the cleaning and laundry. It's a great backbone for my days. It has even helped with Paris' whining issues because now I can say "Let's look at the schedule and see. No, it's not TV time you'll have to wait."

So, how has the week gone since they got back? Monday - great! Tuesday - started great. Tuesday afternoon Paris spiked a 103 fever. She does this on occasion so I wasn't to worried, but an hour after Motrin it had gone up, not down. We still managed to keep some semblance of routine/schedule that day. Vivian also decided that she was not really interested in eating a decent amount - I was a little concerned since it was the second day she was only "snacking" but I figured she was maybe just tired. And then Wednesday came....

Paris starts the day at 103 with a little cough. I call and get her an appointment at 1:20. I take the little ones to my friend Stephanie so I can go see my OB/GYN. It is SO pleasant to go to the lady doctor with a feverish four year old. Vivie was still not eating well, hadn't pooped in a week, and seemed to be messing with an ear a lot so I called and got her in at the same time as Paris' appointment. Had lunch at my friends and waited around there until it was time to take them in. Take all three children into Scott & White (Tripp was just along for the ride). The doc says everything looks OK. Paris most likely just has a virus and is doing that Mystery Fever thing she does and Vivie might have a touch of a tummy bug making her not hungry, but nothing he could find was actually wrong. We come and put everyone down for rest and feed the baby. Vivie ate like a champ and filled her diaper with poop. She now owes me $30 for the wasted co-pay. By the time Easy got home it was just nuts around here. I didn't even start dinner until he got home. No chores got done and I thought to myself, "Schedule, what schedule?"

God - thank you so much for teaching me that just because I have a schedule doesn't meant I HAVE to stick to it. Thank you for growing in me a tolerance for chaos, patience for sick kids, and the ability to laugh at my AR tendencies. Help me today to play "catch up" around my house and to maintain my desire to stop and have crafting time with my kids. It really is fun.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

A New Test

First, let me apologize to those of you who cast a vote a few posts back. I will soon post the Life with Teenager topic for you. The rest of the subjects on the list have sort of faded from my mind so if you voted for another you'll have to just use your imagination.

Today's topic is related to one of those options I listed though! Send the Mortgage to the Arachnids was on the list but got only one vote. For those of you who know me very well at all you know I have issues with spiders. Truth be told I am a full fledged arachniphobe. In reaction to seeing spiders in the past I have screamed, run, thrown up, had uncontrollable shivers and goosebumps, had my hands go numb, and of course simply been frozen in fear. I acknowledge that these reactions are irrational. They have been in my experience also uncontrollable.

Well, our new house is a bit out in the country. We have an acre lot so there is room to breathe between us and our potential neighbors. It's beuatiful out here. Except for the spiders. We have Garden Spiders. Garden Spiders get BIG. The also weave beautiful webs. During the final weeks of construction my efforts to come out and get some painting done by myself were thwarted by Garden Spiders that seriously seemed to be garding every entrance to my house. It took me 45 minutes to get in the house that night.

So, God and I had a little chat. He's come through in a big way since then. We had our bug guy, the fabulous Don Hancock, come spray the week before we moved in. We haven't had much trouble with the larger spiders (larger to me being anything larger than a quarter) since then. However, after living in the house about three weeks we seemed to be overrun by smaller solid black spiders. Every night they would start running around not long after we put the kids to bed. One evening we saw and/or killed over ten of the little suckers. They ranged in size from pea to penny and I had no irrational reactions. As a matter of fact, God as given quite a dose of courage to me. Since moving in I've gone from irrational reactions to being able to kill them without flinching. I've even killed a few with a bare hand or foot. I've been quite proud. After today I'm guessing I was a little too proud because I got a new test.

I'm headed to the utility room to get Easy's whites out and I see it on the top of the door frame. A large spider you ask? No, no. It was much worse. It was an arachnid with an exoskeleton. Yep, that's right. A scorpion was in my house. How did I react? Frozen in fear with waves of goosepimples washing over my skin. I know enough about scorpions to know you don't want one stinging you. Once my initial panic subsided I had to come up with a plan. I got one of Easy's shoes and began the stalking. I'm not dumb enough to take a swing at it when it's over my head. Seriously, who wants a not quite dead scorpion landing on them? So I waited and watched. The creepy little thing ran up and down the door frame and all over the baby gate. Every time it vanished to the other side of the baby gate and then came back a new wave of goosepimples washed over my skin. The way it moves is almost pretty. I mean if it wasn't a creepy arachnid that can cause intense pain you could almost see the beauty of the way it seems to glide around as it waves its pedipalps (those are the pincher things at the front) around and sticks his tail up like a flag. To me though, it was just plain creepy. It was tough. It took about an hour, but I finally got it. A few smacks with one of Easy's big shoes would hurt anybody and it dfefinitely did the job on the scorpion.

So, tomorrow I will call the fabulous Don Hancock again and have him come spray for every pest imaginable. And tonight I am reminded that no matter how good I get at smacking spiders, there will always be things in the world that scare me. I am thankful that I will always have God to give me strength and courage and comfort. Oh, and in case you are wondering, the big kids are at my folks' house for the week so no one had to witness the crazy lady stalking a scorpion.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

I'm tired off.....

dead fish, dirty dishes, not having drawers, 3:00, 4:00, and 5:00 am pacifier runs, taking the dog out with no fence, spiders, boxes, headaches, dust, laundry, gibberish, and weeds.

But I'm thankful for a daughter that loves her fish tank and doesn't mind flushing her dead fish down the toilet, my dishwasher, a kitchen big enough that utensils can sit on the counter and I still have room to cook, a healthy, happy baby girl, a sweet dog and an enormous yard for him to play in, the stuff that's still in boxes, Tylenol, the stuff that dust settles on, a son that communicates well even though he doesn't speak english yet, having flower beds, and the 4 million other blessings I see in my life every day. Thank you Lord for filling my life with so many wonderful things. And forgive me for not having a positive flip side for spiders - I really am just tired of them.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Still Wakin' Up Everyday

OK, so it's been a long while since I posted. Yes, we are all still alive and well. I've been experiencing a lot of things lately that made me think "I should blog about that." Getting that done has proven to be much more difficult than you might think. Below you will find a list of things I've had rolling around in my mind - go ahead and cast your vote and whichever wins will be my next post.

Barefoot at Wal-Mart
Send the Mortgage to the Arachnids
Life with a Teenager
Visiting Campus (Creating a new Ag)
Where is My Husband?
Three weeks, no shower.
Who needs Cabinet Doors or Drawers?
Schedule, What Schedule?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Movin', Movin', Movin'.........

Quick update - we are moving to the new house this weekend. We have gotten it to the "functional" point so we're ready to go. I think for at least a week we will all be having to share the one functional bath tub (which happens to be my amazing corner garden tub for two!) and one functional sink (in the kitchen). That should be interesting. I'm really glad we have a sprayer on the garden tub so we can at least squirt ourselves off. I must say though - it's hard to imagine Easy getting up at 5 something in the morning to get ready for work in the garden tub! He's such a shower man. I know he sleeps standing in the shower so I'm going to make him set an extra alarm just in case he falls asleep in the tub! I better run - lots to get done between now and then!!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Time Flies

It's hard to beleive little Viv is alread 51/2 weeks old. It's been pretty crazy around here, but we're holding our own. Here's the latest update on things: (and I promise to go back to writing witty and sometimes thought provoking posts after we get moved and settled in the new house)

Vivian: Growing like a weed. We've been battling a pretty bad case of eczema. It is finally getting better, but it took a while. She had it all over her little face, ears, neck and shoulders. Her face is cleared up but now we're fighting it in other areas. She also had to go see an ENT today. Viv failed her hearing test in the hospital and again at 4 weeks. After our visit this morning we discovered she has an ear infection in one ear - and may have even had one in both last week when she failed the test. So, we're doing antibiotics and have appoitnments to follow up and retest her hearing toward the end of June. We know she hears loud noises - you should see her jump when Easy sneezes! She also seems to quiet down to singing and responds to Paris' voice so we aren't too concerned at this point.

Tripp - teething like crazy. If those bottom molars don't break through soon I think I might go nuts. He is cranky and cries a lot. He's also adding words to his vocabulary. His most recent additions are bubble and car. He has also begun to push back when Paris is holding on to him or trying to wrestle with him. I think she has a rude awakening in her near future when he realizes he can fight back.

Paris - doing great. She misses school already and she really wants to move to the new house. We go from having wonderful fun together to her being a total pill and back to fun several times a day. She would love to be the one in charge of either Tripp or Vivian and doesn't seem to fully understand why that's not such a good idea. I keep telling her she doesn't have any milk to feed the baby and she just looks at me and says "You do that part silly!" We are planning to get her a fish for her birthday so maybe the concept of responsibility will start to sink in after that. As of now, all she knows she is responsible for is keeping up with Badges (her little stuffed dog) and he gets lost...A LOT!

Easy - working like a dog trying to get the house done.

Me - hanging in and smiling most days. Thank goodness for a good mom that lets me call and talk to her every day if I need to hear a grown-up voice or have someone give me a bit of perspective.

House - coming along. The cabinets should be here tomorrow. The floors are almost all done - just need to grout one bathroom. Easy says moving on the 17th is still a go. Keep praying.

In other news - I'm planning to attend a summer study on Psalms on Wednesday mornings at church. I've missed the structured study time I used to have before I started working childcare during Ladies' Class so I'm really looking forward to it. I'm also planning to attend a knitting class at church on Wednesday nights. It's called Threads of Love - we learn to knit, study scriptures, and in the end we donate a blanket we have made to Hope Pregnancy Center (I think). Well, Viv is stirring so I better wrap this up. I'll try to post again soon.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Quick Update

I don't know how much time I have so this will be quick........

Vivian Faith was born on April 21st. She was and is beautiful. Good eater, fairly good sleeper. Weird thing she does....snarfs breast milk out of her nose. I'll be asking the pediatrician about that next time I'm in there.

The siblings are adjusting well. Paris is in love. Tripp is just now acknowledging that she exists. Most of my time is spent trying to stay a step ahead of our "routine" so that nobody gets TOO hungry or TOO thirsty and TOO stinky. That's when the melt downs happen and we like to avoid melt downs.

The house is coming along. I think we'll move the weekend of June 17th. We finally got a shipping date on our cabinets that have been holding us up so I am very encouraged. Everything else is falling right into place so I marked my calendar and am planning to move one weekend and have Paris' b-day party the next. Am I nuts?

And lastly....You know your boobs are too big when..........You're getting dressed in the morning and as your remove your sleep bra (if you don't know what that is then your boobs are NOT too big) a potato chip falls and hits your foot. You then think briefly about when you ate potato ships last and realize that it was the night before. Indeed you realize you slept "all" night and nursed a baby 2 or 3 times without ever knowing there was a potato chip hiding under your boob.

Clearly I am no princess for I would NEVER know there was a pea under the mattress!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

To Everything Turn turn turn...

I find myself with mixed emotions today. There truly is a season, and purpose, to everything under heaven. I don't think they are clear cut seasons though. I think they overlap so much sometimes that we don't really know where we are or exactly how we feel. Either way, I love the scripture (and song) that addresses this topic.

I have a plaque in my home with the scripture printed on it that was given to me by some very special friends. Technically it's already packed up for the move, but I can picture it clearly in my mind. It has been special to me since the day I received it. Those special friends are part of my mixed emotions today. Over the last year they have come under attack by Satan himself. Their marriage has gone from bumpy to shaky to court dates. These are people that I love. They helped raise me as part of my extended Christian family. They truly shaped parts of who I am. My heart is breaking for them and there is nothing I can do but cry for them and pray with faith that God will see them through this - together or not.

Another good friend lost her father in a car accident last night. I don't even know what to say to her. I think if I were in her shoes I would be in a useless heap on my living room floor. As part of me grieves with her, we rejoice together. Her father was baptized Sunday morning. Praise God! He so clearly has a plan for his children. Talk about mixed emotions. The spirit part of us is doing flip-flops of joy over his decision to accept Christ as his personal savior and the human part of us grieves his departure from this world.

And then there is the stuff happening in my own house! I am getting so very excited to meet Sweet Vivian!! Her arrival is so soon. Within two weeks I would say. I can't wait to see what she looks like and introduce her to her sister and brother. To see that look of total and complete adoration on Easy's face when he looks at her. I'm not sure if Easy realizes that's what shows when he looks at his children, but that's what I see. And at the same time I am very anxious about her arrival. Exactly how will she get her? I'm schedule to have the procedure done on Monday where my doctor will try to turn her. Will it work? If it doesn't, what will a c-section be like? If it does, when will I actually go into labor and have her?

So, my seasons are overlapping a great deal at the moment. In our cradle roll classes we teach the babies about warm clouds and cold clouds meeting and making thunder and lightening. That ties in well with the storm analogy from my last post. Amidst the thunder and lightening and increasing winds however is a very quiet voice. "Sarah, be still. I've got it covered. Afterall, I am God and I love my children more than you can fathom."

Father God, thank you for loving us so very much. Let your peace and comfort be on all those who need it. I think that includes all of us here on earth. You know specifically who is on my heart right now. I know this next request is a bit selfish, but if you don't mind Lord, could you tell Vivian to turn, turn turn........

Friday, March 31, 2006

Before the Storm

I love my parents. Last week my mom came up on Wednesday morning to help paint trim for the new house. On Thursday she went to my doctor appointment with me and then helped me straighten up my house because we were having people over. Friday morning she went home, and she took my children with her. Easy and I were meeting a friend in Houston Monday night, so I went to Baytown to get them after that. We all came home Tuesday morning.

I can't remember the last time my house was so quiet. I didn't even turn the TV on until Sunday night so Easy and I could watch our soaps together. I don't remember if the saying is the "quiet" before the storm or the "calm" before the storm. Either way it occured to me about half way through the weekend that surely that must be what I was experiencing. I spent almost two whole days in silence - speaking only on the phone and then to my Smooch when he got home after dark. It was blissful!

Now, before you go thinking I was eating bon-bons all weekend, let me assure you that a lot of work got done. I repainted two pieces of furniture that will be in Tripp's room at the new house. I (with some muscle help from Smooch) moved the children into Paris' bedroom. They will be sharing until we move. I put together the crib and got all of Vivian's linenes and clothes washed and prepared for her arrival. I packed a bin of toys and two boxes of "stuff" for Paris and Tripp's respective new rooms. And....I slept. That was my indulgence. No alarms. No chattering children at 6:40 AM to start my day. On Monday I didn't even open my eyes until 9:00 AM and then I stayed in bed another hour because I could. It was heavenly!

I also got a bit of much needed quality time with my Smooch. We went out to dinner Friday night and Saturday night. We had grown-up food and conversation. We didn't worry about getting home early or if we remembered to put up the baby gate when we went to bed. We actually choose to wait an hour for a table at the Olive Garden. Had I not been about to pass out due to hunger when we sat down to eat in a booth I wasn't sure I would fit in with this big baby in my tummy it would have seemed like the old days...before we had kids. It was wonderful!!

Then I brought my kids home. Paris got sick the afternoon we got home and ran a fever for 48 hours. Tripp is having a hard time adjusting to napping in his (Paris') room so I'm having to sit on the floor to make him stay in bed until he goes to sleep. Then Paris got well and spent all day yesterday checking to see if the rules were still the same at home. Tripp is teething I think and has been clingy and crabby. I've done more laundry than I thought I could do in an effort to not have Paris' virus make the rounds this time.

And as I'm doing all this I am constantly aware that Vivian is still sitting perfectly straight with her head in my rib cage. That is not where her head should be at this stage in the game. If she is still sitting there in a week my doctor is going to try and turn her over....from the outside. Sounds fun, huh? Chances are real that just having that procedure could reslut in bringing home baby a few weeks early.

So, it's not storming here yet, but I'd say the winds are picking up and it's starting to cloud over. I think I even felt a few sprinkles yesterday. I may have a few more calm/quiet days before the downpour starts, but I think I'm ready. My children are currently running manic through the house, my kitchen needs to be cleaned and there is still more laundry to be done. Paris insists on hugging Tripp until he screams in frustration and Cowboy (our dog) keeps giving me that look that says "can't you send them back to Baytown?" I am healthy, my family is healthy, we are building a new house, my husband brings me home Big Read Vanilla Float sodas because he loves me and life is....well, blissful, heavenly, and wonderful!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Mostly Good News

I say mostly because the topic of the house construction sends me into to serious stress mode. This in turn makes me have Braxton-Hicks contractions which stress me out even more. It is not a pleasant cycle in which to find oneself. However, thanks to a MUCH NEEDED mommy-chat this morning I am feeling better. It is so nice to have my mom back on her own turf (she just got to go home from caring for Nana!) because I don't feel near as guilty when I call to whine and cry and ask her to cheer me up. In turth, chatting with her this morning just sort of affirmed that I am not insane, my logical thinking skills still work, and despite the pregnancy hormones that are ruling my life I can indeed still function as a productive member of society. Thanks Mom for helping me feel normal again!

Now for the good stuff....Paris is having a great day! See, for a while we have been re-evaluating our discipline strategies with her. She has been pushing the limits to say the least. Easy and I have talked some things over and we (with the help of my best girlfriend who happens to be a Marriage and Famiy Therapist - we went to grad school together) made a pretty good plan - we think. Then I implented half of it. Things seemed better for about a week and then the insanity resumed. It occured to me this week that I never did the other half of our plan! So, today Paris helped me make her star chart. It simply includes a calendar and three color blocks - green, yellow, and red. We discussed what happens when she ends the day on which color. How she moves from green where she starts each day down the "stoplight" of colors. She seemed to get it and we had the most peacful rest time she has had in probably six months! She has had to move to yellow today, but she's also gotten a special green star in her square for obeying the very first time I told her to clean her room! You would think that with a degree in psychology and in marriage/family therapy I wouldn't need a reminder that incentives and rewards for good behavior are frequently much more effective than consequences for disobedience and "poor choices" as we say in our house. Who knows if this will make as great a difference in the coming days/months, but as of right now I feel like the light at the end of the tunnel is closer and we may indeed find a way to handle some of these parenting challenges that have plauged us the last few months.

And lastly....I started reading a great book. Captivating by John and Stasi Elderidge. If you are familiar with Wild at Heart, this is essentially the book John and Stasi cowrote for/about women. I've only read two chapters and I must say that I already feel more validated in my skin. I have been reminded that God did indeed make me the way I am for a reason and that some of the things society sees as weakness in a woman were put there by the Master himself. I'm looking forward to the rest of the book. With all the stress of the house and pending childbirth I think the timing could not be better to read something that puts me back in perspective in the world. I am a creation of God and as the bumber stickers say, "God Don't Make No Junk!"

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Toddler Bed, Ankle, and Bon Jovi

Yes, that sounds like an odd combination, but those are the things that have been happening in my life since I last blogged. So, here's the update:

We moved Tripp to a toddler bed a week and a half ago. The first few times he slept in it he went to sleep on the floor and we had to scoop him up and put him in bed. I guess waking up in it helped him realize it is for sleeping so he's gotten the hang of pretty well. We do still occasionally find him asleep in an odd place though. Easy found him sacked out on top of the cedar chest in his room and also caught a glimpse of him early one morning sleeping under his bed with only his feet sticking out. All in all it's been a good transition though. The worst part is that now that he can get up and play he's been getting up REALLY early. I'm talking 6:00 early. For those of you who know me well, you know this is not how I function. I'm trying to teach him that mommy doesn't get up until 7:00. but he really does not seem to care. The other quirk we've hit is some regression on Paris' part. Since Tripp went into the toddler bed she has refused to sleep in her twin bed. She has instead been sleeping on her fold-out Dora couch that is not even long enough to accomodate her length if she stretches out. It's not worth the fight though, so we've just been letting her sleep there. I think the "Dora bed" is going to get packed for the new house while she is at school tomorrow.

In other news, I tripped on a toy (the Leap Frong Cash Register) last week (monday) and sprained the fool out of my ankle. I was carrying Tripp when I fell. Fortunately we fell into the couch so nothing but my ankle suffered the impact. Tripp just looked at me like "Why did you throw me on the couch you crazy woman?!?!" Paris was a real trooper. She went and found my cell phone so I could call a friend for help - I seriously couldn't really get up. She then held me on the couch and told me she was sorry I was hurt and that Jesus could make it better. I don't think she'd ever seen my cry due to pain. She has such compassion. She will be a good mommy one day. Anyway, with a lot of help from friends I got to the doctor and got my instructions. I almost laughed out loud when he said to stay off of it. Seriously, I have two kids. But, I did my best and the Lord humbled me so that I called and asked for help when I needed it from others. I'm on the mend now - just some twinges every now and then and a slight limp. The aircast is off so I look normal again too. (except of course for the VERY large belly - someone has already said I look ready to pop! I have 8 weeks to go people!!)

The ankle injury was on Monday, the best concert ever was on Tuesday. That's right folks - it was Bon Jovi time! And yes, I ignored my doctor's orders and went. I did use crutches so I was as "off" the ankle as possible without sacrificing the best anniversary present ever. The concert was amazing. Bon Jovi still rocks, and they definitely know how to please their mostly female crowd! My husband is such a good sport. He just let me scream and squeal like a teenager and did nothing but shake his head. I even saw him singing along a few times. He went and got me water when I needed it and stopped to get me food on the way there and the way home. I think it was one of those he was happy that I was so happy kind of deals. And let me tell you - I was HAPPY! Our seats were great, my husbnad is great, and yes, Jon Bon Jovi (and Richie Samboa and the rest of the band) is...great!

So, there you have it - I'm now just trying to catch up on laundry and things that didn't get done last week while I was on the injured list. Funny how I pushed myself to the concert, but felt no inclination to push myself to do household chores. What can I say - I am only human....a very pregnant human who decided an bum ankle was a good excuse to get as much rest as possible. That's all I've got. I'll try to have a point to my next post.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Piggy Bank

Again, my daughter is teaching me. Paris has had a piggy bank for quite some time. When she gets money in cards we usually put it in there and every so often she and her daddy will clean off the shelf where he empties his pockets and deposit all the change in the the bank. When Tripp was born he got a bear bank and she started insisting that we put half the change in his. We have never emptied her piggy bank so it is currently stuffed to the brim. We have been talking for a while about counting it up and starting a savings account for her. She has been on the same page and thought putting it in the bank was a good idea.

Well, Valentine's Day rolled around and she got a total of $15 from her grandparents and great-Nana. I asked her what she wanted to do with it and this was her reply: "Put it in my piggy bank. But Mommy! My piggy bank is full. We need to emtpy it out and give it to Jesus."

Um, wow. I of course told her what a wonderful idea that was and that we would do that very soon. Now, my more practical human side was trying to figure out how to get that savings account started. I even entertained a brief thought of teaching her what 10% meant. Then I realized what a TOTAL boob I was being. (yes, I said boob) Who am I to tell her not to give her money to Jesus?!? If anything, I should follow her example more closely.

So, I've decided that we will count up her piggy bank money and put it in the collection plate. (or maybe just take it to the church would be a noisy collection to drop all that change in) I think I will also match the amount out of my "mad stash" and start the savings account as well. And of course, I now find myself wondering if I should even have a "mad stash" at all. Hmmmmmmm........

Thursday, February 09, 2006


I got a great present today. When I picked Paris up from school she hurried to her cubby to get out a little envelope. She happily brought it to me and proclaimed that she made it to "make me feel better." I guess she picked up on the fact that I'm fighting off a cold that makes me feel less than stellar. Anyway, I looked down and in perfectly beautiful brown crayon was the word "MOM" written in her very own handwriting. I teared up. Her teacher (a substitute today) told me that she came and asked if she could have some help. After Miss Johnnie showed her how, Paris wrote "MOM" on the envelope for me. She filled it with old valentines that she had cut up into pieces. Apparently cutting is one of her favorite things to do at school. The envelope even had a few slices in it. Truth is, I didn't care what was inside. All that matters to me is that my sweet 3 year old daughter was thinking of me and wanted me to feel better. She wrote "MOM." That's me. I'm "MOM," and today I was reminded of what a wonderful thing that is to be. Thank you Paris. Now, SIT ON YOUR BOTTOM AND FINISH YOUR DINNER!!!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Snail Party and a Random Question

Yesterday I had a "sick day." No, I didn't get to stay in bed and have someone bring me soup while I watched cheesy movies and napped all day. Instead I met the basic needs of my children and allowed them to destroy our home with play while I laid on the couch watching just close enough to ensure that physical injuries were not going to happen. Tripp wasn't feeling great either. It amazes me how much snot can be in the head of someone so small. I wore a black t-shirt most of the day and when I took it off last night it looked like a family of snails had a raging party on my shirt. That is mother love.

Random Question - Why are public bathroom toilet seat so infernally cold? Yeah, I know - you're supposed to squat and not actually touch them. That's a physical impossibility at this point. Were I to attempt such a thing I would find myself with a headache from tipping over and ramming the stall door with my head. The miracle of life does have a few drawbacks along the way and I think having to sit on freezing cold public toilets is one of the biggest!

Just thought I'd share............

Friday, January 27, 2006

Move Over Bacon!

Well, I started to post on Wednesday and stuff kept happening to prevent me from finishing it. I now know that was God. Had I actually posted, you would all have had to endure my whining about how frustrated and taken advantage of I am. God clearly had other plans.

Today my message is simple - GOD IS SO GOOD!

When I pulled into the parking lot at church Wednesday night I was beyond angry at the world. In general my thinking was this, "You want to talk to me? Fine, I'll yell at you." I can't even explain the emotional state I was in. I did have my wits enough about me to know I needed to get my rear to church so I went. I dropped the kids off in their classes and went to see what adult options are this quarter. I saw a class listed that is about prayer and the women involved are women I have tremendous respect for so I thought I'd check it out. I now know that was God.

When I left class I was refreshed, broken, reminded, repentant, rejoicing. It was one of those experiences when you realize God is talking directly to you. He punched me in the gut, kicked my rear and then hugged my heart so wonderfully, peacfully gently that I broke and the tears flowed. The message at the root was basic - I'll sum up..."Now that you admit you can't do it on your own and that you have forgotten I am in control, move over and let me work."

And boy has he been busy! I can think of at least 5 prayers that have been specifically answered this week. A broken family I love dearly has started the healing process. We sold our Vette for more than we expected. (this is a bittersweet answered prayer - but I'll talk about that in another post) All the pieces fell into place regarding my little job at church coordinating childcare for Ladies' Bible Class. The framers are decking the roof on our new house (that means we are ahead of schedule if you can imagine). AND, my Nana is already out of her surgery and doing well.

I assume some of you remember the "Move over Bacon, now there something..." (was it leaner or meatier - I can't remember). Well, that's the slogan that ran through my mind when I got the message loud and clear. I'm going to write Move Over Bacon on my bathroom mirror as a reminder to see each morning that I need to keep my controlling human thinking out of the way and let the Master work His plan. Please pray for me, that in my hormonal, stressed out state I can do just that and rest in the peace that His plan is so much more than I could ever accomplish alone.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


My sweet Paris is always teaching me things. She (and her brother) love the Care Bears. They are for the most part cute and tolerable so I don't mind this obsession of theirs much. The Care Bears have a Caring Meter in Care-a-lot (that's whre they live). It looks a lot like a gas guage on a car. I guess to Paris is looks like a clock.

Now, she know that clocks tell time. Digital clocks are just that, clocks. Watches are either watches with buttons (digital) or watches with turny things (regular). Small clocks (travel alarm size) are just clocks too. Anything larger than that, however, transforms from a clock into a "Care-a-later." My Nana has an old clock on her mantle that is Paris' favorite, but pretty much any clock big enough to be hung on the wall is a care-a-later. Funny thing is she still knows they tell time and are not showing how much caring is going on. She came out from rest-time (we don't call it nap time anymore since she refuses to nap) and said "My care-a-later is pointing up at the 12 so I can come out!" She was correct.

This whole thing has had me thinking though. I think, as alway, she is on to a bigger message. I think clocks - all of our clocks - are indeed caring meters. After all, they tell us where our time is spent, and where we spend our time show us what we really care about. How much time we spend at work, playing with our kids, watching TV, reading a good book, reading God's Word, in fellowship with others, sleeping, etc....

This realization has helped me re-evaluate some things. I now turn my computer off during the day. I only use it first thing in the morning, during rest-time, and after the kids go to bed. I'm trying to spend more time playing in the floor with the kids (though the growing belly makes that tough). I'm not fussing when Easy has to spend his time taking care of things outside of this house because I know he is doing it all for our future and because he loves his children so much it can bring him to tears (trust me, I've seen it). I'm trying to spend less time on my couch and more time getting this done that will help my family be strong and healthy both mentally and physically. I'm trying to use the little time we have on earth to do what it is God wants me to do - and sometimes that hard (but that's a whole other blog entry).

So tomorrow, I encourage you to strap on your care-a-later and see where your time goes. It truly is a good representation of where your heart is. We don't know how much of this time stuff we have, so I hope we can all learn to use it as best we can and remember that moments spent in relationship with others are usually way more importnant than blogging or getting the dishes done.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Bring it On!

Well, the holiday season has come and gone and it is now a new year. I learned a few things during my blogging break. First, my Nana has an amazing spirit. This isn't really news to me, but I've seen it shine through yet again as she is recovering from breaking her hip and having it repaired. Second, my Mom has the same spirit. She has done an amazing job being there for Nana and keeps her cool better than I ever could when things get challening. I hope one day my daughters will say I have that same spirit....I think it will take some cultivating though. Third, slinkies require constant maintenance. That may not be earth shattering news to you, but since Paris recieved 3 of those sproingy little toys in her stocking my world has changed a bit. The good news is that fixing a slinky can at times be so monotonous that it's almost like knitting. Rather, almost like I think knitting would be for me if I knew how to knit. Your hands are busy and your mind is not. Maybe I'm wrong about knitting.

So, now it't time to take on 2006. I say, bring it on! If there is one thing 2005 taught me it is that God's plan is better than mine could ever be and that He is always watching out for me and my family. We started the year off still adjusting to having our second child and looking for a job for Easy. He has been laid off just weeks before Tripp was born so it was starting to get a little rough. While we soon adjusted to life with two kids, the job hunt was seemingly fruitless. He picked up some jobs here and there, but nothing steady. We had to get private health insurance...everyone got approved except me. So, with lots of walking and re-learning what it is to let your stomach growl before you eat I lost enough weight to get added on around May. Good thing it was "baby weight" or there would have been a 1-year waiting period to see if I could keep it off! Right as we were nearing the end of our nest-egg that had been keeping us afloat - I mean literally, we only had a few weeks left before we were going to start asking family to help pay bills...all the bills - Easy got hired at a company in Houston. I was so excited to have a steady income that could hardly sit still. Turns out that the commute isn't too bad, our private insurance is cheaper than what we would pay to go through his new job (not to mention we are totally out of network in BCS), and I was still capable of being a stay-home mom without him around. (I had really gotten spoiled to his presence and help.) That was in July I think - maybe the end of June. We started working on getting everything in order to start building a new house - a dream God planted in our hearts back in February when we could hardly pay our light bill. We were able to secure THE lot we wanted in a new development on the Houston side of BCS. I know God was holding it for us. He's good like that. In August we found out that we were pregnant! Talk about surprises. To round the year out the process of getting started actually building our house took about 4 months longer than we expected. The loan finally closed on December 22nd. My Nana fell and broke her hip a few weeks prior to Christmas, so our holiday schedule went haywire. In the end, however it was a great time - this will be the only Christmas I have actual memories of being in Nana's house. It was a real treat to have her come home on Christmas Eve and celebrate together as a family.

So, here's 2006. We're starting off expecting our third child in a few months. We have income. We have actually started construction on our new house. We have the most amazing support system in our family, friends, and church home. We have SO much! Thing is, the things that are different are just details. Instead of a having a newborn, I'm pregnant. Detail. We'll have a new address soon. Detail. Money - detail. All the important things are exactly as they always are. (we just forget what's important sometimes) We are blessed by and amazing God who has already done more than I can fathom to better our lives. We are children of God and friends of God and there is nothing else that is more important.

So as the year procedes with it's own surprises, challenges, and blessings I say...Bring It On! My only resolution this year is to remember how gracefully God carried us through last year so that my peace, my joy, and my strength comes from Him alone. (Yes, I know that's easier said than done, but that's why it's a resolution.) I wish the same for each of you.