Wednesday, November 30, 2011

ornament tradition

We started the tradition in 2000.
In Mexico,

In June or July, no less.

The whole family had gone to Juarez
with the youth group from church to build a house.
When we found ornaments
with a house painted on them,
it was kind of a no-brainer.
We haggled over the price a bit
and bought four.

The next year,
liking the idea of a 'significant' ornament,
we chose an ornament for each kid based on their likes.
(for example, Tony loved to watch birds, 
so he got a birdbath ornament)
I just wrote on the bottom of the box
'because you like ___________'

The ornament tradition has evolved over the years
and what we now do is:
Tyler and I go on a date 
and we make a list
for each kid of things they've done / like,
areas they've grown in, etc. in the past year
(this could be improved on, by making notes throughout the year)
(Oh. wait. I sorta do that on the ol' blog. Whatdoyaknow?!)
One of the nice side-benefits of this list
is it helps us to look past what we're dealing with 
right now
with a child
and reminds us of the 'whole' child.
(For example - Lily has been a whiny crabby pill for several weeks
and when we first started her list
it was sparse;
but as we looked back further over the year
we remembered how amazing she is!)

remember when Lex' hated homeschooling
and was a beastie??
armed with our lists
we start shopping for ornaments.
We often find things to add to the lists.
(the girls love having tea parties, 
but we hadn't thought to write that on the list
until we saw a teacup ornament...)
After choosing an ornament for each unmarried child,
(or deciding we'll need to make one)
we buy boxes for them.
(plastic food storage containers are great)

- and here's the most important part -
we write a note for each child to include in the box,
using those lists we made earlier.
Little things that would otherwise be forgotten
(like that Lexi used to call Tony 'Hony')
are also lovingly written.

Every year,
once the lights (at least 600, preferably more) are strung,
and the garland is wrapped around the it,
the kids fill up the tree with ornaments,
one memory at a time.
And when they marry - they'll take it all with them.

As Tony was hanging his ornaments Sunday evening
(and complaining about the brevity of the early notes)
Tyler asked, "What if Tony's wife doesn't like his ornaments?"
(though, I am careful to choose ornaments with spouses in mind)
"How could she not like my ornaments?!"
he asked.
"They are me."

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

you is beautiful

I was having a boo-rattly day
and I'm pretty sure I know why.
I found out yesterday that my grandma
- the one who doesn't care much for me -
visited NWA, and nobody bothered to let me know.
Of course, 
I wouldn't have wanted to go visit.
But Tyler would have insisted that it was the right thing to do.
And I would have agreed with him. grudgingly.
So there's that.

But, also
any mention of Grandma GeeGee
takes me back to awkward adolescence
when she painted my 12 year-old face with her old lady make-up
complete with too-pink rouge and non-sparkly blue eyeshadow
then paraded me in front of my dad
and she told him,
"She's homely. She needs to wear make-up."

He must've agreed
because I was allowed to wear makeup from that day forward.

It was another year before I'd realized 
that she meant homegirl was so ugly I shouldn't be out in public.
I thought 'homely' meant somebody who likes to be home.
Not somebody who needs to stay home.
I decided today
that 31 years was plenty long enough to be ugly.
(technically, only 30 years- since it took me a year to realize
that I'd been pronounced ugly. Which I suppose means
I was also stupid. But that just now dawned on me,
so I didn't suffer any ill affects from it.)
inspired by a pillow I'd seen on Pinterest
which was inspired by the movie The Help,
I created a reminder.

In the movie, when Abileen tells Mae,
"You is kind. You is Smart. You is important."
I leaned over to Tyler and whispered, 
"She should have told her she was beautiful, too."

Because everybody should be told that.

Consider yourself told.

Monday, November 21, 2011

shoe shinin'

the cat's sorta out of the bag.

When Tyler was in the Army and up for guard duty,
if he looked snazzy enough, he could get out of it.
So he'd spend an hour spit-shining his boots,
and I'd spend an hour starching his uniform
'til it could stand on its own.
At least half of the time, our work was rewarded 
with Tyler getting the night off :-)

A few weeks ago,
it was time for Tyler to teach Ton'
elite shoe-shining.

cuz 'you ain't fine 'til you got a shine'

And Ton' needed to be fine
for his internship interview with ABF.

Just like the secret to a glass-like shine,
we had to keep it all hush-hush
since Tony hadn't told his boss at MarketPlace
that he might be leaving....

He still hasn't gotten the job yet,
but he's talking to Wes right now...
I'm telling you - ABF takes hiring interns veeery seriously;
Tony has already interviewed with five people!

But if his shoes have any say in the matter - he got the job!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

a novel approach to reading

I finished another book last night.
Fiction, again.
I was sad to reach the end,
to never get to 'interact' with Juliet, Dawsey, Isola
Elizabeth, and all the rest of the Guernsey folks any more.

I've met so many interesting, inspiring people
on the pages of books.
I think I've had it all wrong,
those years I went without reading fiction.

Most 'self-help' books, parenting books,
how-to-be-a-better-wife books, etc
leave me feeling more frustrated than inspired.
More 'I've done so many things wrong, how can I ever get it right?'.
And I've certainly not been sad to reach the end of the book.

A recent read, These is my Words, left me
appreciating my husband more,
thankful for modern conveniences,
and wanting to be a harder worker.
And a better shot. 
(Dang! That Sarah could shoot!)
Not too shabby for one book.
And a novel, at that.
that book has a sequel.
What should I read next?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I am so out of shape; it's pathetic.
I irritated a muscle in my upper arm last night
playing air hockey.
In my defense, though,
I played like a dozen games.
(and lost just about as many)

iPads ought to come with warning labels.

Monday, November 14, 2011


I'm not exactly sure what this is,
but it's obviously the work 

 Not long after I spotted the above contraption,
Jeremiah came running in the house,
"You gotta come see this!"

They were so excited with their amazing find,
they went to search for more.

You just gotta love 'em!

Friday, November 11, 2011

7 quick takes ~ or maybe just 4

I can hardly believe it,
but Marcos is finally going home!
It has been a very long 8 days short of 10 months.

They have to leave for the airport (1 1/2 hrs away)
at 3 am.
I'm staying up so I can be sure everyone gets up on time;
This is not a flight that can be missed!!
I'm hoping the book I checked out is riveting;
I've got an hour and a half to go
and I'm a wee bit sleepy.

I spent so many stinkin' hours on the phone this week
trying to get everything lined up for him to leave.
(lots of last minute drama!)
Have I ever mentioned I'm not a big phone gal?
I'm not.

We aren't exactly sure what the new 'normal' is going to look like
but we're all looking forward to figuring it out!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

blasted chicken

It's what's for dinner.

sorta gives new meaning to 'Blasted Chicken'...
 Or rather
it's what was supposed to be for dinner.

note to self:
do not preheat the oven for Blasted Chicken
if you are using glass pans.

little miss observant

I was getting dressed
so I could leave the house at 8am
(without any little girls)
when Lexi woke up.
Through slits in her eyelids, 
she noticed.
"Why are you putting on those pants?" she asked.
Pretending as if the emphasis had not been on 'those',
I answered, "Oh, I'm just getting dressed for the day."
"But those are jeans!" 
my ever observant-even-in-a-sleepy-state girl noted.
"Oh. Yes, they sure are." I replied 
and repeated cheerfully, "I'm just getting dressed for the day."
"Where are you going?
Those are going pants!"

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I think that's what they call irony

I'm on hold with the USPS
waiting for them to tell me
a package that I paid $18.30 for overnight delivery for
won't be delivered 'til the 10th
when it was mailed on the 7th
and I hear
"For delivery you can rely on, 
choose the United States Postal service."


Monday, November 7, 2011

the stain ninja

The series of texts between my girl and me began with
"Who is the laundry queen??
Oh yes - that would be ME!!"
I'm such a humble soul ;-)

It all started when, 
through a series of unfortunate events,
I ended up ruining one of Luke's dress shirts.
I felt horrible 
but Lana wasn't overly bummed,
since they'd bought it for half off at Savers
and he'd gotten some use out of it already....
I told her I'd hang onto it and see what I could do.
I get mighty perturbed when laundry dares to defy me. 

After several soakings and washings,
I had it wearable, though not perfect,
and washed it one more time.
with somebody's new something or other 
that bled in the wash.
Got that out
after another washing
but there was still that one pesky grease spot.
And I was starting to take this personally.
I could have returned the shirt
and he could've worn it,
but golly
I hate letting the laundry win!
(Lana suggested that I may be competitive)
The shirt sat in my basket for a few more weeks.
Taunting me.
I finally bought some more oxiclean
(can't imagine why I'd run out)
and went after it one more time,
putting dish soap directly on the spot
and soaking it in a scoop of oxi in very hot water.
My persistence paid off.
The shirt looks good-as-new.
am the stain ninja!
I will not be defeated.
(Never mind that I could have probably bought another shirt
with all the water, soaps, and soaks I used....)
I do enjoy a good challenge.

Friday, November 4, 2011

happy day

The kids and I are heading to the dairy in just a bit.
Tony got ice for us early this morning.
(thanks, Bud!!)
We'll stop at Squash Blossom to buy honey
and maybe a tub of macaroons.
We'll go to the park in Pryor
and have lunch at Pizza Hut.
(did you know their lunch buffet is free for kids under 10?
That means the six of us can eat lunch for $11.75 plus tip.
That, my friends is cheaper than McD's)
It's gonna be a happy day.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

the retreat

I know.
Ya'll are just dying to hear me eat my words.

I'm glad I was forced to go went.
Bev Bradley is a great speaker.
She's funny,
she looks fabulous,
she loves Jesus,
knows her Bible,
and was pretty transparent.

Two things she said that I really need to remember are
"Conviction comes from God, and points me to Him;
condemnation comes from Satan, and points me towards myself."
"When we obey Jesus, people will be blessed.
When we are overextended
[taking on work that He doesn't have for us to do]
people around us will suffer."

I'd have to say that the biggest thing I went home with though,
was not something that Bev said,
but rather something I wrote down 
while we were just having a few minutes of silent prayer
after the last session Friday evening.
As a family,
for years we have prayed that we would 'grow in love'
or that we'd 'be more loving'.
What I wrote was
"We pray that God would help us to grow in love.
I think, what we need instead - what I need instead,
is to grow in the knowledge of His love."
I think Tyler tried to tell me this once,
but I didn't get it.
I suppose I was still trying to do things in my own power..
Until I really grasp
Christ's love is for me,
I can't really grow in love.

About a year or so ago,
I sorta quit believing that God loved me.
Yes, I still believed He was my Savior,
that He loved 'the world' and all,
but I was really struggling with the idea of Him loving 
me, personally.
I figured there must be a loophole somewhere.
(Being sick can do strange things to you - I see that now)
Sometimes in church
I couldn't even sing some of the songs;
they just felt like lies.
Two weeks ago on Sunday,
 we sang the song How He Loves Us
and I couldn't sing it.
Not because I didn't believe it,
but because I did.

I usually read the Bible to see what I need to do,
how I need to live.
But I think that,
for awhile anyways,
I'm going to try to read with the mindset of 
increasing my knowledge of God - and His love for me
I think will naturally result in an increasing love for him
and others.

Bev says 1 Corinthians 13 is not an assignment;
it's an invitation.

So, yeah.
I'm kinda glad I went to the retreat.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

the sad tale of a toothbrush

Around here
we usually get new toothbrushes twice a year,
Easters and Christmas.
I honestly can't remember Easter this year,
but judging from most of the brushes,
new ones weren't received.
I would have made everyone wait til Christmas
(sad, but true)
but Tyler was one of the ones with bad bristles,
so he picked up a 4 pack on Thursday.
Or maybe it was Wednesday. 
We divvied up the toothbrushes based on need
and picked colors oldest to youngest.
(it's almost always youngest to oldest - so we swapped)
Tyler picked one with red on the handle.
I asked him why he picked the pink one.
He said, "It's red."

When I was packing Friday,
I grabbed my (not new) pink on the handle toothbrush
and tossed it in my makeup bag
along with the almost empty tube of toothpaste
(I all but cut them open to get out the last smidge.
Why shouldn't I? I paid for it!)
When I brushed my teeth hours later, 
I discovered
 that I'd actually grabbed Tyler's toothbrush,
not mine.
(I told you it looked pink!)
Sunday afternoon,
I overheard him saying he couldn't find his toothbrush.
I jumped up to get it out of my bag for him
and told him I'd accidentally taken it,
it being pink and all.
it wasn't in my bag.
I'd left it.

And that is the sad tale of Tyler's pink new toothbrush.
I swear I didn't leave it on purpose,
but I'm buying a different color this time.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

doin' the happy dance

I just got a call from the Embassy of Belize in DC;
The Belizian government has confirmed
that Marcos 
a citizen of Belize
and we should have his travel papers next week.

He's goin' home