Friday, July 31, 2009

Anyone?

Does anyone here locally have a pressure cooker I could borrow?

Kirby and I are looking for one at garage sales, but haven't found one yet.

No...

I don't want to blow myself up.

Well...

Aaron will sort of want to blow something up (what's new)...but I promise, I will try not to blow up your pan or blow up myself.

I want to can salsa.

Yum.

I'm scared though. I'm probably going to borrow Will's motorcycle helmet and wear it while canning.

Yes...I'll take a picture.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Fall Garden

Since our summer garden was such a hit, we have decided to start a fall one.

That sentence is dripping with sarcasm since our summer garden was in fact NOT a hit.

It was stupid.

I really think the professors at Texas A&M should bring their students over here to show them every possible thing that could go wrong with a garden...in one handy location.

We will not give up on totally failing in the garden department.

Fall...here we come.

To celebrate our love of completely stinkin' at gardening...check out this cool video.

I want to be these people.

My neighbors would probably not want me to be these people.

Pretty impressive!



I really want to eat her salad.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

And the Winner Is...

(Last week's Feminine Appeal post below)



Congrats!

I'm not sure why Hayden goes from robot to insane.

I never know why he does much of what he does!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Two Posts In One Day

The grocery store inspired me today. Go figure.

I'm pleased to announce that my Kroger just started carrying my favorite, healthier, yet tasty cereal. I used to have to make a trip to HEB to stock up on this stuff.

Tah-Dah...

They are only $2 a box. That's cheap, even for crappy unhealthy cereal.

And, unlike Kashi (which is really good for you, but really tastes like poop) I love this cereal, and so do my kids.

This one tastes like Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

I like the one that looks like Sugar Smacks.

My kids adore the one with marshmallows.

These might not be as healthy as the uber-healthy cereals, but they are healthier, don't cost a fortune, and since they are in the health food section I feel healthy eating them.

Plus I love a healthy cereal that doubles as a healthy snack for Hudson.

Here's the info from the website...


For more details and to read nutritional facts...here is a link to their website:

Mom's Best Naturals


If these aren't really healthy, please don't tell me. I like thinking they are, and my kids hate all the other healthy cereals, or they are too expensive to buy, so I don't.

Here's a link to a coupon for this cereal if you want to try it for less. You just fill in a little somethin', somethin' then print it from your computer. Love those kind.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Religion Saves + A Give Away


I told you I liked the book.

I like it enough to spend some of my swagbucks on a lucky winner. I would give you mine, but I wrote in it and there's already a list of people who have asked to borrow it when Aaron gets finished. Besides, I said Religion Saves is a great resource, so it will be a book I'll want to keep handy.

To enter the drawing for a free copy of Religion Saves + Nine Other Misconceptions leave a comment with the following info:

1. The name of your favorite Muppet

2. What question (found in the review below), you're most eager to read about in the book.

If you live outside the US, sorry...you can't play.

The drawing for the book will be held on Tuesday.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

What Do You Do Wednesdays

Attention: This isn't a mommy post today. I need everyone's creative brain...

New to "What do you do Wednesday?"

Here's how it started.


From this point, until school starts, I'm going to use the What Would You Do Wednesday posts for entirely selfish reasons.

Most of the time, What Would You Do Wednesday posts are about a general topic. This community of readers puts our heads together and shares our ideas for doing certain things.

So far we've covered Favorite Breakfast Ideas, Favorite Soups, Family Worship, What to do with your kids instead of letting them watch TV, Favorite Internet Sites, How to inspire creativity in kids, Laundry Solutions, favorite recipes to cook when having people over, sleepovers, fevers, an entire series on efficiently running a house, and a whole week of ideas for being frugal.



Although I have mapped out our school year, and have an entire year of lesson plans printed out and organized, my favorite thing about teaching is finding fun activities, field trips, books and movies that go along with every unit. I strongly believe that the most effective way to teach my kids, is by completely saturating their brains with a topic.

Hopefully, although entirely selfish in nature, these posts will help other teachers, mothers of preschoolers and homeschooling moms.

Here's how these posts will work...

I'm going to give out a topic that we will be covering in school this year. Then, I would love for YOU to help me brainstorm great movies, shows, books, field trips, etc. that go along with each unit.

What books on the topic have you enjoyed? Have you ever seen a documentary on that topic? Maybe you could recommend visiting a Habachi grill during the Japan unit...stuff like that.

We'll do two topics a week.

This week's topics...

WEATHER (Meteorology)

and

THE HUMAN BODY

Can't wait to hear your ideas.

Remember...we're not looking for units, or the actual "school" things to teach about each topic. Most of us have a curriculum we are already following.

I'm looking for...

movies

books

field trip ideas

documentaries

games

That kind of stuff.

Thanks in advance! Mothers and teachers everywhere will be so happy you shared your creative brains!

I'll add my ideas in the comment section as well.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

We Went to France for our Anniversary!

Well, not the real, far away France.

Aaron asked Crystal to stay with the boys last night.

We left the house, went and ate at Pei Wei...my favorite, and then drove through a terrible storm, tornadoes and all to get to our destination...

A little cabin in the woods at the 7-F Lodge.


how cute is this?

We had a sweet time.

We played Rummy.

Rummy isn't code for something else.

We really played Rummy...the card game.

Before we were married, and before we had kids, we would play Rummy a lot before bed.

There are only two games I can play with Aaron and win half of the time...

Rummy and Scategories

What a fun thing to do on our anniversary.

I was reminded, as I sat with Aaron all evening...no tv...just lots of talking and touching...how much I enjoy my husband.

He really is my favorite person to be with...to talk to...to work through huge ideas.

He makes me laugh.

After the tornado warning subsided, and the huge hail stopped falling, we sat out on that porch and talked...watching the rain.

We came home to sweet boys, waiting on the front porch for us.

And a horror story.

Poor Crystal.

Hudson woke up at 6 a.m. She went to get him, picked him up and realized he was COVERED in poop.

She was covered in poop.

His bed, everything in it was covered in poop.

He was screaming with a horrible diaper rash.

Poor punkin!

Crystal must really love us!

We're so thankful for her.

Before she left, she said, "This was good practice. Except, I get to go home and take a nap before work. Real moms don't."

I told her to savor this time!

If you live here locally...or even if you don't...

I must say, I am sad I didn't know about the 7 F Lodge sooner!

It was so nice. I am a hotel snob, so when Aaron asked me if I wanted to stay somewhere for the night on our anniversary, I told him..."Here? In this town. No. There is not a hotel in this town nicer than my own bedroom."

I was wrong.

We will be going back.

It was the perfect get away.

They have several cabins from which to choose. Check them out! Here's a couple of my favs:

France...our cabin

Sully's place

Batt's Ferry Log Cabin

And check out this chapel...


Someone SERIOUSLY needs to get married here and invite me.

My favorite part of our stay...

We never laid eyes on another person the entire time we were there. Breakfast was in our room, waiting for us. The key was hidden for us to find.

I know not everyone cares about that...but if you do...you know what I'm saying...it was fantastic!

Monday, July 20, 2009

13 Years Today


I think Shania Twain says it best...

You're still the one I run to
The one that I belong to
You're still the one I want for life
You're still the one that I love
The only one I dream of
You're still the one I kiss good night

Honey...

thanks for loving me

all of me

even the yucky parts

crazy parts

mean parts

silly parts

confusing parts

I hope I fall asleep the next 13 years still hearing you say, "I love you. You're my favorite. I'm glad you're mine."

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Our Baby Turned One Today

As is tradition in the Hendrick house, Hudson woke up to Birthday biscuits.



He really liked them! He knows the sign for "more" and was definitely using it when he was done with his first biscuit.




We also got to meet with Hudson's birth family last week to celebrate Hudson's bd. They now read our blog, so they have given me permission to post pictures of their family and say their names.

Here are some great pictures from our little party at Fudruckers.


Mama Jasmine loving on Hudson



Mama Jasmine, Yvonne (Maw-G to Hudson), and Uncle Jordan



They love Hudson so much, and we're thankful that as Hudson grows up, he will know he is loved, not only by us, but by his first family as well. It makes my heart happy to know Hudson will always know the people who loved him enough to consider his needs as more important than their own. I'm always amazed by them, and forever grateful.

I sat in that restaurant, listening to our two families laughing, telling stories...the kids playing, and I thought of how good this is...how healthy.

For those of you who have followed our whole adoption story, you can understand, when I say that adoption, for all its beauty can be complex.

Adoption is incredible.

But I will say, this morning, as I was laying in bed...thinking, before any of the boys made their first peeps, my mind thought of Hudson...how today is his birthday, how much I love him, how blessed we are that he's ours, that we get the privilege of raising this little man.

I was thinking about how one year ago...I held his tiny body in my arms, and met him for the very first time.

I had waited so long.

My heart overflowed with joy and wonder...meeting Hudson was pure magic.

But I can't think of Hudson's birthday long, before my mind thinks of his first family.

One year ago today, they placed this precious baby in my arms, and began grieving.

Today we celebrate Hudson's life.

Hudson has taught me about the beauty of real life...about honesty...about love.

We love you, Hudson. All of us. What a happy boy you are. You bring such happiness to this home. We're silly in love with you little man!

And we love you, Jasmine, Yvonne and Jordan. I pray this day is a sweet one for you as you rest in God's plan, His goodness, and His way of taking everything broken, and making it "all better." We celebrate your sacrificial love for Hudson.

Thank you for giving us this child, and giving us so many things to celebrate today.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Trinity Pines



I vaguely remember seeing the mothers

standing in the foyer of church

waiting

watching

surrounded by suitcases filled with snacks, outfits and sunscreen.

the kids

bouncing like little Tiggers

eager to start their adventure

Barely noticed them

because I was chasing around a toddler

who was crawling over the suitcases

begging for snacks

and trying to eat the sunscreen.

It never dawned on me that my toddler

would grow up

turn into a bouncy T-I-double "gu" "er"

and need a suitcase of his own

filled with rice krispy treats, outfits and spf 30.

"It will be forever before my baby goes to camp."

Well...

Forever passed in what felt like four days

There I stood, in the church foyer

waiting

watching

wondering

how on earth I became one of "those" mothers

with a child old enough to go off for four days.

It's not an urban legend.

The babies you are holding

cleaning

cuddling

nursing

loving

really do

grow up

pack bags

and

go

_________________________________________________

I remember when Anson was only 11 days old.

I was nursing him, and Aaron came in the room.

I was crying.

Tears running all down my face.

Aaron quickly came to me and asked what was the matter.

Through sobs, I said...

"He's 11 days old, Aaron."

Aaron was confused, but was trying to play along.

"Okay...you're right. He is."

I tried to explain...

"I love him so much, but today he is 11 days old, and in a few years, he'll be ten, and then he'll be 18, and then he will leave."

full throttle crying at this point

Aaron was so sweet...

"Yes. He will turn 10. He will turn 18. He will leave. But today, he's 11 days old."

I pulled the crying back down into first...okay, maybe second.

The night before Anson left for camp, I told Aaron this was so hard to do. I wanted Anson to go. I know he's going to have such a great time. But, it's hard to think of him leaving.

"What's the hardest part about Anson going," Aaron said.

"I'm going to miss so many of his moments."

Funny how, it's these little things, like sending a kid off to camp for a few days, that can make you sit and think big, Hagrid-sized thoughts.

Since Anson has been gone this week thoughts like these have lounged around in my head...

If the next 10 years go as quickly as the first 10, it really will seem like tomorrow and he'll be in college, or getting married.

Is he ready?

Lord, are we teaching him enough...about the things that really matter?

Am I cherishing the moments I still have the privilege to see as much I should be cherishing them?

Do I see the days he's here, at home with us, as valuable as they truly are?

Although I hope he has a great time at camp, at college, as a married man...will there be things about home that he looks back on and feels good...content...satisfied and thankful?

Are we making memories and marks on him that he will always want to keep with him, packed deep in his soul?

I pray camp has been good for Anson's heart...but it's also been good for mine.

I'm glad I want him to have a great time, to have new experiences, and do "older boy" things.

That's probably healthy.

But I'm also glad I genuinely miss him, and have been reminded how much I like him, enjoy him, and notice when he's not here. He is so helpful around here.

That's probably healthy too.

Camp is a great reminder that babies get bigger, and that our days with them are numbered. It makes ordinary days sparkle a little more...you know...like treasure.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Favorite Swagbucks Stuff


I was cashing in some swagbucks today, and here are my two new favorite things you can get with your swagbucks.

Crazy Dog T-Shirts

You can get a $5 Crazy Dogs gift card for 20 swagbucks.

I will definitely be getting someone I love this t-shirt...


Speaking of t-shirts...my other favorite swagbuck things are the swagbucks t-shirts.


If you get a Swagbucks T, you can enter the contest...


To stay up to date on all swagbucks related news, add their blog to your reader!

And of course...if you haven't joined the fun, get a swagbucks account!

They pay you for searching. It's fantastic! Click on the cute button and sign up!

Search & Win

Flashback Friday

Originally posted July 20, 2006

I was thinking about this dog for some reason today, so went back to find this post.


I cannot believe this has happened in the Hendrick house.


A dog.


Is here.

In my back yard.

Running around on our grass.

Lifting his leg on our plastic pool.

My boys have been working on me FOR A LONG TIME about getting a dog.

Four boys. No dog.

They seem to think something is wrong with that picture.


(We had four boys in 2006 because we were fostering)

During many trips around this great town, the subject of dog has come up. I try to turn up the radio, or pretend I'm on the phone. I think they are on to me.

Anson will say, "Mom, can we have a dog?"

Just the mention of the word, "dog" sends me into a well rehearsed list of all the reasons we simply should not own one.

They lick you, and no one seems to care.


This bothers me.

Especially considering that some people treat dogs like children.

BELIEVE me, if I went to ANYONE'S house and their two year old jumped into my lap and starting licking my face...I would not like it OR pretend like it's no big deal. I would not go on with my converstation. Nope. That would be a show stopper. So, why do wanna-be children dogs get to do this?


Not to mention that I am no fan of exposed private parts. Dogs have those. Ick.

Besides, I'm all about giving things a trial run. That's why we got ducks. If I hated them, we could dump them. I did hate them, so we dumped them. It was super.

I would only get a dog if after 30 days, I wasn't satisfied, I could return the product for a full refund.
Since dogs are not like Proactive, I didn't think we would ever actually get one.

Until this dog came along. If we don't like him, I can give him back. Sounds great.

During one ride around town, I told the boys that we could only try this dog if some things were understood about this stinky thing right up front.

Our conversation went like this:

Mom: If we get a dog, it can not come in the house. NOTHING with an exposed hiney hole is EVER going to set it's exposed hiney hole on any floor in my house. NEVER.

Boys: Fine. But, Ashton sits naked on our floor.

This is when I reminded them that Ashton has cheeks on his hiney that keep his hiney hole neatly hidden away...that's the only reason we keep him.

Mom: I will hardly ever want to touch it.

Boys: That's fine.

Mom: I don't want to feed it.

Anson: I'll feed it. Do I get money?

Mom: No.


Anson: It's still fine.

Mom: I don't want to give it water.

Same money conversation...and the answer was still no. Anson was unwavering.

Mom: It will not ride in my car. Hiney hole on upolstery. I don't think so.

Boys: Fine.

Mom: I won't like it.

Boys: We'll like it.

So, he's here.

He arrived with the name of Fletcher. However, it seems he is unaware that's his name.

Hayden is obviously unaware as well that dogs have names that are not up for debate every time you call them.
He's called the dog a different name every time he's referenced his new friend. A minute ago, Hayden called Fletcher, "Electric." Bizarre.

So, if he is going to stay, we will need to find a new name for him. I really do like the name, Fletcher, but nothing can be Hendrick with out a name that starts with an H or an A. That's just the rule. This rule is as unwavering as the one about exposed rear ends.


And besides, every time Ashton says the name, Fletcher, we really should beep it out.

Because of this new thing in our back yard, today Hayden has fixated on the fact that this dog poops outside...and that this is perfectly ok. He can not get over it. Since the dog arrived, he has asked me, non stop...

Does a monkey poop?


Yes.

Does a snake poop?

Yes.


Does a watermelon poop?


No.


Does a door poop?

No.

Does a book poop?

No.

Does a snail poop?

Yes.

Does a finger poop?

No.

Do fish poop?

Yes.

He needs to know. Every thing or object that comes to mind today...he has a desperate need to know if it poops. See...this dog is already causing problems. However, I have to hand it to no-name...he's kept the Hendrick boys outside all afternoon even though it is 450 degrees out there. Whoa...my goodness...for a brief second, I think I felt the slightest hint of "like" for what's his name. Nope. Nope. Never mind. It passed.

_________________________________________________

Update to this story...the dog died.

Calm down. I didn't kill it.

It tried to commit suicide* by sticking its head in our fence. Aaron ran inside the gate...went to save the dog's life, and then the dog ran right out of the open gate and got hit by a car.

I guess it was his day to go.

*I'm worried this says something about having four little boys as your owners?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Back to Work, for One Week


I'm spending this week lesson planning for our upcoming school year.

I need to stay away from the computer as much as possible, but I'll pause, as I get little moments, and try to share what I'm getting ready this year for those of you who are wanting to homeschool one day.

I've already written about why we homeschool, so if that's an interesting topic to you, you can read here.

Once we decided to home educate, I think the most overwhelming thing to me was choosing a curriculum. At first, it seems like there's so much to teach...so many options, so many styles, and so where do you start?

No joke...I'm NOT a pill popper, but I think I asked my doctor for ambien during the time when we were deciding to be foster parents, and deciding whether or not to home school. I could not sleep at night, thinking through these gigantic ideas!

For us, some of the things that were most important as we decided on a curriculm were...

1. Reading

We wanted our kids to be avid readers, and learn how to pick a book up, on any topic and learn what was inside it.

2. Thinking

We want kids who can think. We wanted a curriculum that helped them learn how to think, and helped them learn how to make connections between lots of ideas.

3. World History

We wanted a curriculum that taught our kids, from the moment they start Kindergarten that we are only one part of a gigantic whole. We want them to learn about other countries, other cultures, other religions, etc.

All through college, I loosely followed the writings of E.D. Hirsh, Jr. He's an educator. He has written several secular books that call for a reformation of the public school system. I was always intrigued by his books, and the articles he wrote for magazines and newspapers. I think he was on Oprah once. He makes the argument that American schools need to go back to a more classical approach to education.

I'm not here to bash public school. So don't get your public school panties in a wad. I'm just saying...Hirsch is a respected educator who sees some flaws in public education, but has devoted his life to trying to help fix the problems.

After we decided to home educate, I noticed there were books at the library from the Core Knowledge Foundation. The Core Knowledge Foundation was founded by E.D. Hirsch, Jr. Basically, this group has written books called, "What Your Kindergartner Need to Know" and "What Your First Grader Needs to Know" and so on and so on.

I snatched up the Kindergarten book at Barnes and Noble and loved it. However, I was at a loss as to how to write up lesson plans for all the great lessons on history, science, reading, math, poetry, sayings, visual arts and music that the books contained.

Thankfully, several schools have piloted the Core Knowledge Curriculum.

The teachers at these schools put their lesson plans online.

So, to teach my kids every year, I make sure I have the book they need from Barnes and Nobles (This year, I needed What Your Kindergartner Needs to Know, What your Second Grader Needs to Know, and What your Fourth grader needs to Know.)

Then, I go online and use the free units. Each lesson plan for each topic out of the book is written out in daily lesson plans. These are written for charter schools and public schools, so they are written in the appropriate styles. At the end of each unit, the appendix contains all the tests, worksheets and activity pages we need for all of the daily lessons. Amazing!

We use a different math curriculum, as well as different Language Arts and Spelling curriculums. From the Core Knowledge Books, we cover the units dealing with History, Science, Reading, Poetry, Sayings, Art and Music. This is not a Christian curriculum, obviously, but we like it, and of course, interject (when needed) ideas about our beliefs. I love challenging the kids to make connections between the things we're learning about our history, the condition of man, and what the Bible has to say about who we are, and how we will think and behave apart from knowing God.

The Core Knowledge Books, like What Your Kindergartener Needs to Know were written for parents of children in public school. E.D. Hirsch seems to think that until some of the educational issues are resolved in the public school system, these books can be a great tool to help parents make sure their kids are learning everything they need to learn. The Core Knowledge Foundation recommends that parents buy these books, and read out of them throughout the school year.

They are well written, and read more like a magazine, so if you're even the slightest bit worried about your kids not learning enough, then I would highly recommend these books. You could easily read out of them for just a few minutes a night before bedtime. They are very colorful and easy to understand.

If any of this is interesting to you, here are few links you might need:

Core Knowledge Foundation Website (you can read about their purpose, and their ideas on education)

What Your First Grader Needs to Know
(you can find all these books at Barnes and Nobles, or on Amazon. Here's one sample of what they look like and what they look like inside. You can also take a peek at the Table of Contents.)

All the free, online units complete with appendixes.
On the left, you'll see every grade. Click on the grade you are interested in, and then all the units for that grade come up.

Here's an example of one unit Hayden will do this year in Second Grade...

Ancient Greece: Inquiring Minds Want to Know

Like I said, finding a curriculum is one of the scariest parts of deciding to home school. If someone asked me how to go about finding a curriculum, I guess I would say make a list of the things that are important to you. I think it's important to think through not only how your child learns, but also who you are. A curriculum has to work for both you and your child. It's important the curriculum is one your child will love, but also something you won't dread teaching...you'll be teaching it every day!

Overall, we have enjoyed this curriculum. There are some things I don't like about it, and some things my kids don't like about it...but that's life, isn't it?

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

What a Happy Fourth! (and bunches more pictures)

We decided to make a big stinkin' deal out of this year's fourth of July.

After spending the weekend with our dear friends, the Garratts, in Wimberly...we started thinking...

It's SO FUN to spend a weekend with your friends. We have loved getting away with the Garratts and genuinely enjoy when friends from out of town come stay the weekend with us. So why not do that more often?

Why not have sleep overs with people who don't live out of town?

The Apels were our first friends to invite to spend the night.

We asked them if they wanted to come spend the night with us, so we could hang out, put the kids to bed and stay up talking and playing games.

They said yes!

So, we spent Friday night together. We stayed up late. We played a new board game. We decided people should do this more often, it really is a lot of fun!

Saturday morning, we started the day off by hosting a Fourth of July brunch for a bunch of friends. We had SO MUCH delicious breakfast. Sausage/cream cheese rolls, breakfast casserole, french toast, pigs in a blanket, homemade biscuits, cinnamon rolls, fruit...yum.

Then we headed to the pool for a few hours.

A large group of us showed up, and get this...we were the only people at the pool for about two hours. Really. It was like we rented it out or something.

The pool hosted all these fun events for fourth of July.

So, when they had their water balloon competition or relay races...the only people playing were the people in our group! What a fun day.

After swimming, we all headed home, got cleaned up, put babies down for naps, and got ready for dinner.

We ate BBQ baked potatoes, salad, corn on the cob, homemade bread, limeade...it was all so yummy.

Then we loaded up the kids and headed to Washington on the Brazos. Normally we go to the George Bush Library for fireworks, but I hate it.

I was ruined by the firework show in our town growing up. It was in a big park. You could put a blanket down on the ground, and the fireworks lasted a long time...and they were so close, pieces of the fireworks fell on you. Now that's what I call a fireworks show.

Here, you usually end up having to watch them on the side of the road. So dumb.

So, we heard that HEB was hosting a fireworks show at Washington on the Brazos.

Of course we left later than we wanted to leave...this is us we're talking about.

I got pretty ticked on the way there that we couldn't find the place, and there are detours and all kinds of mess trying to get out there.

We finally find the park, and it's so full, we can't get inside. As soon as we drove up, Hayden said..."I think there are going to be a lot of mini vans at this place."

He's so weird and funny.

He was also right. It looked like a mini van car club was meeting.

We parked in some person's yard...really...no one else would, but it looked like no one was home, so why not?

Good thing we drove all the way out there, because the firework show lasted all of three minutes.

At the end, there was this thing that I thought could be the finale...a bunch of fireworks in a row. And then, after that ongoing explosion, several crummy fireworks went off.

And then a dud...it just went up and fell down.

I turned to our group and said, "Wouldn't that be so funny if that was the way this firework show ended?" I was laughing thinking how ridiculous that would be.

And then cars began starting their engines and driving off.

What? No way. This is NOT how this is going to end.

I threw a fit.

And yet the cars just kept leaving.

We won't be doing the Washington on the Brazos thing again. I was so glad we didn't get inside the park, because I think we would have had to wait until the next fourth of July to actually come home. The traffic coming out of that place was crazy.

Just our personal opinion, but our group gave the Washington on the Brazos firework show a bunch of thumbs down.



Okay, not really. I made everyone give it a thumbs down. No one else seemed nearly as bothered about the fireworks show as I was. Look at Aaron...even when forced, he won't complain. Seriously, honey...that's the worst disappointed look I've ever seen.

Since the traffic was so awful, we decided to make the best of it. We cut open a watermelon and sat in someone's yard and ate it. I was hoping that person was WAY inside the park. It would have been weird for them to come home with all of us sitting in their yard having a big time.

We loaded up, came home...and ate Kirby's Fourth of July pie at about midnight.

It was delicious. Then the boys reminded us that we needed to do sparklers. I was wondering if this day was ever going to end, and if Asher was going to succeed at setting one of the other kids on fire. We sparklered it up and then went to bed.

It took all of Sunday to recover from our full Fourth of July.

As I was tucking Ashton in, he said, "I loved this day, momma." I said, "You did? What was your favorite part of today?"

My little piggy answered...

"All that breakfast and all that dessert."

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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Jam Packed June and Lots of Pictures

Anyone know where June went?

I think I remember seeing it fly by...anyone else?

Here's our June in a nutshell...

We went to Wimberly with the Garratts.

We decided to each stay in a camper down by the river.

Anyone thinking of Chris Farly right now?

The Feldmans let us borrow their camper and their son for our trip.

We left College Station with a hee-honking camper trailer behind our Expedition.

About 45 minutes into the trip, it was obvious...our car was not doing well. Our car was WELL within the range for being able to haul the camper trailer...so something weirdo was happening, for sure.

Obviously, our vehicle only likes being close to home. When driving around our town, it's perfectly fine. When we start to leave our town...it throws a fit.

We stopped and put the trailer on the back of the Garratt's Suburban, so our car could have a little rest.

Things seemed to be fine....for about thirty minutes.

Then, our car started knocking...dying...stalling...shaking...

And then it died for real.

Cardiac arrest on the side of the road.

So there we are...half way between home and our destination.

It's already about 9 p.m.

We have 6 kids in our car.

We're far from home, in the middle of NOWHERE...really...nothing but farmland and road in sight.

Could things get any worse?

This is our life we're talking about here, so yes...the answer is yes...things can always get more and more ridiculous. Until we've hit "unbelievable" then the story is never over.

We pull over, with our dead car and find out our vehicle has decided to give up the ghost right in the middle of a TORNADO WARNING.

Do you know what a tornado warning is?

It means an actual tornado has been spotted.

What on earth are we going to do?

In the middle of tornado winds...I'm not joking...they were so strong at some points, I could not get my car door open, or the door on the camper trailer open.

Wind and dirt were flying everywhere...and so was some rain.

In the middle of all that, we have to first, get all the stuff out of the Garratt's suburban into the camper trailer they are pulling for us, then all of our stuff out of our car into the camper trailer and then all six of our kids, carseats and all into the Garratt's Suburban.

That's so much fun to do in the middle of a tornado.

And, some litter bug had thrown a poop diaper out on the side of the road, and we just happened to break down right next to it. I know this seems minor, but I'm just saying...when your car breaks down late at night, in the middle of a tornado, and you have to jump over a diaper filled with poo during your 100 trips back and forth loading up children and luggage...well, it just seems like a cruel joke.

So now it's time to play a little game...

How long does it take to get from College Station to Wimberly?

2 hours you say?

No, I'm sorry...you're wrong. It takes 5 hours.

How many people can a Suburban hold?

7 you say?

Thanks for playing but a Suburban can hold 12 people.



We left our car on the side of the road, and decided to head OUT of the tornado and get to Wimberly.

Aaron and I were in the very back of the Suburban for the remainder of the trip. As soon as things settled down, I said, "Honey...why is our life always so ridiculous?"

All he could do was shake his head. He looked a little green, thinking about our engine needing to be replaced. Apparently, we could adopt a kid and a half for what engines cost.

Mike was in the front seat, and we hear him say...

"It's so weird. It never hardly rains around here."

I said to Aaron, "I feel so sorry for them. We shouldn't do things with people, because then our weird life becomes their weird life."

And that's when it started to hail. Really. It started hailing on us...big chunks of ice falling out of the sky.

I hear Mike say, "Is that hail?"

I said to Aaron..."Of course it's hail. I swear, I think people think we make this stuff up. I hate that the Garratts are involved in this, but we have proof...this junk really happens to us."

I really wish sometimes that I didn't have so much to write about.

So, we left our car on the side of the road in Bastrop, and finally arrived in Wimberly.

It was late.

By this time, it was POURING rain.

Yes...you got it.

We had to set up the camper trailers and unload everything and everyone in a downpour.

Did we mention this was our very first time to EVER use a camper trailer? We had no idea what we were doing...and wow...it's fun to figure out how to set up a camper trailer in the middle of the night, with sleepy, crabby kids while God dumps buckets of water on top of the whole chaotic scene.

After that nightmare, we actually ended up having a great couple days at the river. But, we had to figure out how to get our cranky car home.

Mike's parents drove two vehicles up to Wimberly. How nice is that? Mike pulled the trailer home with one of the trucks. We drove the Suburban. My sweet brother met us in Bastrop and loaded our broken car on a big trailer. At this point, it's about 103 degrees, and Aaron, Mike and Jason had to be out in that heat, for HOURS getting the car loaded up on the trailer. Maybe Aaron can explain in the comment section how he almost died at this point. I don't like to think about it or talk about it...but not joking...the man could have died.

Then, in one of the most amazing feats I've ever witnessed, my super hero brother backed that trailer up, with our huge Expedition on it into our long, hilly drive way...effortlessly. He's such a stud.

Although a lot of crappy things happened during our "vacation" I came home overwhelmed by how blessed we are. We honestly have the best friends and family people could ever hope to have in their lives.

Once home, it was confirmed...our engine was completely broken, something unheard of for the age of our car. We had to replace it. That normally can cost about $8,000.

Good thing my husband, Sherman, Mike and Aaron Landin are also super heroes, because those guys bought an engine and replaced our broken one for a fixed one by themselves.

Incredible.

I think replacing an engine in an Expedition is probably equivalent to performing open heart surgery or something.

They took my entire car apart and put it back together.

I'm convinced...there is absolutely nothing Aaron can't do.

Our bratty car is back on the road once again.

Here are pics from Wimberly, from the Texas Red's Festival and from our day trip to Barton Springs.

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What a crazy month!

Monday, July 06, 2009

I'm a Little Grown Up


1. What brings you to the doctor's office today?

My answer...

I have ear cancer. I'm sure of it.

Come to find out, the Amazing Doctor Bacak said I don't have ear cancer.

I just have a middle ear infection.

I guess he's right since he went to medical school and all...but I just thought you were no longer susceptible to ear infections once you were a home owner, and paid taxes and junk.

Last night, I was trying to go to sleep and my ear was killing me...I felt so awful for all the little babies in the world.

Ear infections hurt.

That's why babies act like they are possessed by the devil when they have them.

Going back to bed...

Who knows. Maybe I'll start teething tomorrow.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Speaking of Parenting


Anyone seen this show on CMT?

I've been hesitant to tell anyone about this new find, because some of my favorite friends are "reality show" junkies, and one of my favorite things to do is make fun of them for watching these kinds of shows. Now what am I going to tease them about? Just give me time...I'll think of something.

If you haven't ever seen World's Strictest Parents, you should definitely DVR it.

I saw the title, and thought to myself..."Yes...I want to watch this show. I bet these strict parents are mean and crazy." I was envisioning some military style, unloving dad running his children's lives with excel spread sheets, making his kids drop and give him 20 when they forgot to put the lid down on the toilet.

This show takes teens from one home and puts them in the home of "The World's Strictest Parents" for one week.

We were only about three minutes into this show before we realized...wait...wait a second...these strict parents aren't mean and crazy...they are NORMAL.

According to this show, you are the "World's Strictest Parent" if you don't let your teen smoke in your house, yell at you, stay out until 3 a.m., or cuss you out in your living room.

Awesome.