Friday, August 31, 2012

Cotton Cousins

I'm not sure what I love most about this picture.  The white, wide-open field of cotton or how my niece barreled into Hayden with a bear hug when I said, "Look this way you guys - I want a picture." Last weekend was loads of fun with my nieces.  It's true - a cousin is a ready-made friend for life.

Got any interesting plans this weekend?  We'll be at the theater practicing and then we'll be at the theater practicing and then - oh.  Yes.  We'll be at the theater practicing.  This play is taking over our life, but in that way that's fun and full of joy and energy.  We're walking around the house singing Wells Fargo Wagon and laughing at Ashton who has perfected his lisp so much he's now lisping for no good reason - just because he can.

How about some weekend links?

I'm making a big bowl of this to have on hand for this busy weekend.

Got a Home Depot in your town?  These are free and fun.

If you have boys, prepare for them to want to watch this 142 times.  Don't forget to push "A" at the end.

This made me laugh.

If you love Flight of the Conchords, this is perfection.

Watching that made me want to watch this again.  And of course this.

This girl makes me happy.  I may actually go to the mall if this would happen while I was there.

This is beautiful and honest.

Hope your Labor Day Weekend is filled with whatever activities bring you rest and life!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I Take All My Advice from Parenthood - and that's not weird at all

Ashton's audition.  I have no heart left.  It melted.

I love the show, Parenthood.  Do you watch it?  The writing is honest and every episode makes my eyes water up at some point.  I usually sit in the bed with Aaron and watch the show in our room after Hudson is asleep and our older boys are busy somewhere else in the house.  When Parenthood is over, I'm known to find the boys and say things like, "I love you so much.  You know you can always talk to us about anything, right.  I mean anything.  Like - drugs, beer, or if you want to be on the baseball team. You can even tell us if you fall in love with a recovering alcoholic while volunteering at the soup kitchen.  I mean it.  Anything.  I love you so much and think you're incredible - and valuable.  I believe in you.  You know that, right?  You know that?"  Aaron stands there with his eyebrows reaching for the ceiling while I blabber on to the kids.  Our oldest, who is adept at sarcasm, will interrupt my heart-gush and say something like, "Dad. Has she been watching Parenthood again?"

Whatever, family.  Whatever.

We've spent the last month trying to figure out what extracurricular activities our kids are going to be involved in this fall.  Our two middle kids are musical - they love to sing - love to perform - so I thought, "They should be in a musical at our community theater. They will love it."  I also thought it would be a good experience - to be a part of a production once in their life.  I think it's kind of magical to watch an empty, lifeless stage and a group of random people come together to create something new and vibrant.  You start out with nothing but words on paper and a blank slate of a stage and somehow end up with The King and I.  It's pretty remarkable.

When I pitched the idea that they audition for The Music Man, Ashton and Hayden were excited.  It was an easy sell until a few days before the audition when I broke it to them that they would have to stand in front of strangers and sing - all by themselves.  After explaining the audition process to them, they immediately revolted.  Sad faces - whining - and lots of "I might dies" were uttered as they flailed around on the couch.  When Ashton started blinking back tears it slayed us.  "What are we doing?  Should we force this?"

Aaron and I had to regroup.  Isn't this one of the hardest aspects of parenting?  Knowing when to push through and when to cave?  I stood there asking myself the same question I've asked for the past 12 years of parenting: "WHO decided we were smart enough to do this?"

We formed a parent huddle, talked, argued, and name called a little while we tried to figure out whether we should "Jasmine" this or "Crosby" it.  In the end, we decided to run the "Crosby."  Break!  We would hold our ground.  They want to do this. They have been excited about it.  They are simply...afraid.

We put on our game faces and faced the boys again.

It was a beautiful moment talking about fear - yet again - with our kids.  It was really difficult to watch fear of the unknown grip our children and almost rob them of something they really wanted to be a part of this year.

We asked the boys if they would simply agree to start singing the songs we had picked out for them - to see if they enjoyed it.  They reluctantly nodded their heads.  "We only have to learn this tiny part today.  We can work on the rest over the next few days."  With long faces they agreed to give it a go.  Hallelujah.  Within a few minutes they were so in love with their songs - so eager to sit with us and sing - that they would not hear of only learning part of the song.  No way. They forced Aaron to play their songs over and over until we had to beg them to let us call it a wrap for the day.  They were smiling, confident, and joyful.

They had so much fun practicing, they initiated practice the next couple of days.

The night of the audition, I was a wreck for them.  I agreed to audition too.  This production will be life-encompassing for the next month, so if they received parts, I liked the idea of us doing this together.

Sitting in the dark theater, waiting for our names to be called almost made me insane.  My stomach was in a tight knot when the director called my name.  At first I was relieved to go before the kids.  Even though it still makes me nervous, I've sang in front of people hundreds of times.  I started out fine but at some point it hit me - OH MY GOSH.  My kids are about to have to do what I'm doing.  They will have to stand here.  In front of people they don't know.  And sing.  This is awful!  What have I done?  I'm the worst mother ever.  How could I encourage them to do something this terrifying?  Halfway through my short song, with all of these thoughts racing through my head - I freaked.  I was so nervous I ended my song with laughter.  I quit singing and started laughing.  Great, right?  If Aaron had not been sitting there on the edge of the stage with his guitar - rock solid as always - I would have looked my kids in the eyes and screamed "RUN!"

Hayden's audition.  Gotta love Journey.

The boys?  They were not even fazed.  They stood on the stage and confidently performed their little number while I tried not to hyperventilate for them.  They were incredible!

And guess what?  Ashton was cast as Winthrop in The Music Man!  He's busy learning songs and perfecting his lisp.  Hayden will be singing and dancing.  I'll be making a fat fool of myself.  My favorite.

This entire experience was great.  When the boys changed their minds and started begging not to audition, we were instantly sweaty and not at all confident we were making the right choice by pushing them.  Watching the boys bounce off the stage after auditions and BEAM when they found out they were in the play, I couldn't help but think - this is such a Parenthood moment.  It feels exactly like when Crosby and Jasmine were trying to decide whether to push Jabbar into saying his lines in the school play.

The morals of this story?

Fear is intense.  It is a liar.

When Parenthood goes off the air, how will we know how to parent our kids?

Parenting is ridiculously difficult and infinitely beautiful.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Behold the Power of The Lego Ideas Book

I think an oath should exist for parents.  It could go something like this, "If I ever find toys, books, or activities that completely engross my children - so much so that they can hardly be bothered by trivial matters such as eating and drinking - I solemnly swear to promptly tell all other parents of such a toy, book, or activity."  Doctors get an oath.  Why shouldn't we?

We found The Lego Ideas Book  at our public library.  Little did I know, standing at the library counter checking out this book, that I was about to rarely see my children's faces for the next week.

Little did I know, I wouldn't be able to see the floor in the playroom for the next week or walk through the room without stepping on Legos (and cursing their existence).

The book offers instructions and ideas for making elaborate houses, boats, storage containers, and airplanes.

The boys spent an entire day (not exaggerating) building this two story house.  The furniture looked like it came straight out of an IKEA catalog.  The house has an indoor and outdoor kitchen.  When the boys finished, we all wanted to move in.  I told them I'd only move in if they got rid of some of the parrots, dingoes, and monkeys.  Aint no way I'm living in a house with a monkey.  Not even a Lego monkey.  And everyone knows dingoes eat babies.


There were days when I'd go downstairs in the playroom and announce - "Boys.  Seriously.  I miss your faces."  They were so caught up in building and creating they would skip snacks.  Snack skipping is an unheard of phenomenon in our home prior to being introduced to this book.  These words actually came out of my mouth, "Are you guys drinking water and you know - going to the bathroom and stuff?"  The boys who are usually standing in the kitchen at 5 p.m. asking, "What's for dinner?  When will it be ready?  Is it almost done?  What's in it?  Do I have to eat the tomatoes?" would have to be sought out at dinner time and forced to come upstairs.  Friends, The Lego Ideas Book is powerful.  Powerful.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Half the Sky Documentary - Get Involved!

If you're a regular around here, you've heard me talk about the book, Half the Sky.  Nicholas Kristof is a journalist for the New York Times.  His columns offer a persistent voice of advocacy for the poor and poverty-related issues around the world.

About Half the Sky

"From two of our most fiercely moral voices, a passionate call to arms against our era’s most pervasive human rights violation: the oppression of women and girls in the developing world.

With Pulitzer Prize winners Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn as our guides, we undertake an odyssey through Africa and Asia to meet the extraordinary women struggling there, among them a Cambodian teenager sold into sex slavery and an Ethiopian woman who suffered devastating injuries in childbirth. Drawing on the breadth of their combined reporting experience, Kristof and WuDunn depict our world with anger, sadness, clarity, and, ultimately, hope.

They show how a little help can transform the lives of women and girls abroad. That Cambodian girl eventually escaped from her brothel and, with assistance from an aid group, built a thriving retail business that supports her family. The Ethiopian woman had her injuries repaired and in time became a surgeon. A Zimbabwean mother of five, counseled to return to school, earned her doctorate and became an expert on AIDS.

Through these stories, Kristof and WuDunn help us see that the key to economic progress lies in unleashing women’s potential. They make clear how so many people have helped to do just that, and how we can each do our part. Throughout much of the world, the greatest unexploited economic resource is the female half of the population. Countries such as China have prospered precisely because they emancipated women and brought them into the formal economy. Unleashing that process globally is not only the right thing to do; it’s also the best strategy for fighting poverty. "

I've read Half the Sky twice and the stories and ideas it contains will forever be a part of my story.  This book has shaped the way I think.  I'm excited that a documentary, based on the book, will be available October 1 and 2 at 9pm/8pm CT on PBS.

If you're thinking, "I really wish I knew more about these issues, but diving into this arena feels overwhelming - I never know where to start," then I highly recommend watching this documentary.  I'm expecting this film to be a lot like the book - eye opening, troubling, honest, but ultimately full of hope. I'm eager to see how this documentary will move and inspire people to action on behalf of women and young girls around the world.  

"God does not want us to merely give the poor perfunctory help, 
but to ponder long and hard about how to improve their entire situation.

-- Tim Keller in Generous Justice  

How to Get Involved

Mark your calendar for October 1 or 2 to watch the documentary on PBS.

Organize a screening in your town, with your friends, or through your church.  If you sign up to host a screening, Half the Sky will send you discussion questions to use for your event.  With the help of some friends, I'm working to figure out how the women in my life can sit together for the evening, watch the film, discuss, and encourage one another to dream heaven-inspired dreams for this world.  You can host a large event or something small and intimate.  All the information you'll need to host a screening can be found HERE.

Are you a college student who is passionate about these issues?  Half the Sky is looking for Campus Ambassadors.  You could join a select group of students working towards a freer and fairer world for women (while working alongside Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn).

Follow along with Half the Sky on Facebook and/or Twitter.  If you want to stay informed about issues facing women globally, connect with Half the Sky.

Read Half the Sky.  It's informative and offers examples of regular people who get involved and bring about change in this world.

Kristof recently visited Willow Creek Church.  Willow Creek is long-known for their passion for social justice, loving their community in tangible ways, and offering hope to people living in poverty in their own home town and around the world.  If you want to be inspired and feel hopeful that maybe one day the Church and "secular" non-profit groups can focus on the areas we agree upon and work together instead of harping on small areas of disagreement, watch the video from Willow Creek.  Ultimately this polarization between two groups who have many of the same passions is hurting the poor and specifically women and children around the world.  When we operate out of fear and distrust the result is rarely (if ever) helpful. Watching Hybels and Kristof dialogue about injustice to women, seeing them treat each other with respect, and realizing the common ground we share is a beautiful moment for everyone laboring and advocating in these arenas.

On Wednesday, October 3 how about we meet back here and talk about the themes and ideas that stuck out to us most during the documentary?  I'll share the parts that spoke to me, and I hope you'll do the same!  Who's going to watch?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Swallowing my Pride - Jaws Style

Jaws played on the big screen at our local theater for one day only. This movie terrified me as a kid.  I think I watched it when I was in fifth grade or so.  It was the perfect amount of suspense and jumpy.  It didn't cause me to need to sleep with my lights on at night or to crawl into bed with my mother.  It did make me uneasy about swimming - even at our public pool.  After seeing this movie, there were moments when I'd jump off the diving board into the deep end of our city's pool, and I was overcome with heart-gripping fear.  I'd try to think rationally - reminding myself sharks don't make a habit of frequenting public swimming pools - but I'd still end up high-tailing it to the side of the pool - afraid for my life.  I'd pull myself out of the water - heart racing - and have to go buy myself a margarita snow cone to calm down.

25 years later, the thought of Jaws crosses my mind every single time I'm in the ocean. I always experience a few moments of irregular breathing and have to fight my way back to rational thinking.  Jaws is a movie that sticks with you.  It forever freaked me out and I never watched it on the big screen.  I was thrilled to take our oldest son and his friend to watch Jaws last night.  There was something really satisfying about passing down the terror to a whole new generation.

The movie has been digitally remastered so many theaters are showing the film.  If it's playing near you - I definitely recommend it.  I loved experiencing this movie with Anson.  It was fun to see the clothes and accessories from 1975.  The women's swimsuits were dreamy and back in style.  The men's high-waisted, shorty-short swimsuits made us laugh.  This movie is every modern-day hipster's dream.  The movie is rated PG but only because PG-13 ratings did not exist in 1975.  It's definitely a solid PG-13 movie.

Last night was a total adventure for us.  We watched the movie.  We were scared out of our minds.  Then we started to drive home.  While I was telling Anson that I really wish those dorky men's bathing suits would make a come back so he'd have to wear one and he was dramatically swearing he'd never - not ever - allow one of those swimsuits to touch his body, I missed my exit.  Then I ran out of gas.  For the first time in my life.  Calling Aaron to tell him I had run out of gas was especially awful because of my long-held, vocal beliefs that people who run out of gas are idiots.

I try not to be a judgy person, and I despise a generalization right along with the next person, but I have managed to hold on tight to my cruel-fascination with people who run out of gas fairly regularly.  I mean come on - I ran out of gas in the middle of town surrounded by gas stations.  My car kindly reminds me I need gas when I start to run low.  When my fuel level gets really close to bare bottom - my vehicle gets downright annoying. I'd go so far as to classify my vehicle as a bully when it comes to the gas gauge.  "Get gas you moron."  I have a whole rant - possibly even a killer stand up routine - about people who make a habit of running out of gas.  Aaron has heard me perfect my running-out-of-gas-sketch for the past ten years. I pull it out at parties.  It's a real winner.  So imagine what a blast it was to call Aaron and say, "I ran out of..."  I could barely say it.  "You what?"  Sigh.  "I ran out of GAS.  I'm on the side of the road." "You ran out of gas?  Really?"  "Yes."  Gosh.  If Anson wasn't with me and we weren't stuck on the freeway, I would have gone to great lengths to make this all go away.  I probably would have even hitchhiked.  No, I definitely would have. 

Aaron headed to find me.  When I told him where I was he said, "What?  Why are you there?  Where were you going?"  Home.  I just forgot where we lived for a minute.  "You ran out of gas and got lost?"  This was getting better and better.

Aaron emptied the contents of a gas can into my vehicle.  I went to start the car - and the battery was dead.  "Did you leave the lights on this whole time?"  Yes.  "I didn't want a car to hit us while we were on the side of the road."  I didn't tell him I felt freaked out in the dark - and it was too soon to think rationally.  I was afraid a shark would swim out and bite a hole in the side of the car - and DUH - having the lights on would obviously prevent such a tragedy.  Aaron had to jump the car off. He was fabulous, patient, smiley - and even followed me to the nearest gas station (not even a half mile away) and pumped my gas for me.  He did point at me - raise his eyebrows - and say "YOU ran out of gas" a few times though.  I even got the eyebrow raise, wide-eyed finger point right before I was falling asleep.  I fell asleep growling the words, "I can't believe this," and "stupid," and "lame," and "now what am I going to talk about at parties."

Got any awesome plans this weekend?  Here's what we're not doing:  swimming.  Instead, we're going to a real-life skating rink that hasn't been updated since it was built.  Think carpet walls and brown skates.  Yes.  Can't wait.  My nieces are also coming to hang out.  I'm over the moon excited and haven't told the boys yet.  I want it to be a surprise.  I'm also forcing the Middles to audition for The Music Man at a local theater this weekend.  Are they stoked?  No.  But I want them to have this experience one time in their life and swore they never had to be in a production again if they hate it.  We had a heart-to-heart talk about trying new things, experiencing a wide-range of activities - about never knowing what we'll love until we try something new - and about regret.  Those precious kids agreed to trust me on this one - to go for it.  Just this once.  It was a beautiful moment.

How about some weekend links?

When I read this I laughed so hard I cried.  When I retold this story to Aaron in the car, I laughed and cried so hard he could not understand what I was saying.

This is cute - and it's fair trade.

Adoptive parent?  Thinking about adoption?  This is a must-read.

Got a pony-lover?  This could be the next best thing - and you'll be helping to fund an adoption.

This should surprise no one.

I think we may do this while my nieces are here.

Educators will find this intriguing.

Hope you have a great weekend!  And feel free to run out of gas if you want to - I will never make fun of you again.  Never ever.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

BCS Marathon

I've got great news.  The BCS Marathon/Half Marathon is coming up! There are two great ways to be a part of this fab event.  If you're a runner, the race starts at 7:00 a.m. on December 9, 2012 and will be a 13.1 or 26.2 mile journey through the streets of Bryan, College Station, and Texas A&M University.  We'd love to have you join us.  
The race courses are flat and fast, and the route includes plenty of shady neighborhoods, several golf courses, and enough crowd support to help you get to the finish for your first time or your fastest time. The marathon course will be USAT&F certified and a Boston Marathon qualifying race. The team organizing the race is legit, has a lot of experience, and have proven they know how to host a stellar race. If you live in surrounding cities, this race will be worth the drive to Aggieland.

Race Benefits
All runners will receive a technical shirt, a custom medal, long-sleeve cotton participant’s shirt, a goody bag, and post-race food and beer, and all proceeds from the race will benefit two local non-profit organizations (Mercy ProjectSOS Ministries and Down Syndrome Association of Brazos Valley).
Packet pick-up will be Saturday, December 8th.
The second way you can help is by volunteering.  If you're like me and say, "At any given moment, even with double malaria meningitis in the middle of the day in the dessert, I could totally run 1,000 kuh-billion miles, BUT every race needs people who will take one for the team, so I guess I'll volunteer" then let me know!  We'll need a lot of energetic people on our team.  I was recently crowned Volunteer Coordinator in a really moving ceremony that included a light show, a lot of crying, and people passing out.  Not really.  None of that stuff happened, except for me being labeled "volunteer coordinator" and me passing out when the words, "You'll probably have to put together a spreadsheet" were mentioned.  

My goal for our volunteers: 

to be over the top crazy




Olympian-grade-gifted at hand-to-hand liquid pass-offs

Trained to know exactly when to be helpful and cheer for runners 

Trained to know exactly when to "LOOK-AWAY" during those moments when runners are peeing and pooing down their own legs.  

If you're a runner.  Know this.  We'll be here for you - with posters, friendly faces, efficient organization, screaming voices, and wet wipes if need be.
Whether you'll be running or volunteering, this race is going to be the bees knees 
To learn more about the race visit BCS Marathon's website.
You can register to run HERE.

There's also a "marathon" for kids on December 8.  Details HERE.
You can register to volunteer HERE.  You can help during the race - or at events prior to the race.  There's plenty to do and a variety of ways you can be a part of this epic way to give to Mercy Project, SOS, and the Down Syndrome Association of the Brazos Valley.
I've only run a few races, but I remember the volunteers being a big part of each experience - for better or worse.  If you've run a race and enjoyed something the volunteers did to make your race day wonderful or memorable - let me know!  I'll be sure to put all your suggestions in a spreadsheet as soon as I figure out how to make one.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Family Glamp

The Barn - where we stayed

Did I mention we went to Family Camp last weekend?  Oh.  I did?  Well, I think the idea is so novel, until I reach "obnoxious" status and you all tap out and say, "Stop talking about this already" I will keep on posting my favorite pictures (I took a multitude).

We've grown up in church and so camp is not a new concept to us.  Attending weeks worth of summer camps every year when we were younger obviously was not enough, because we kept right on attending summer camps as grown ups.  Aaron has either taken youth groups to camp, led worship at a camp, or taught at a camp for most of our married life.  Moral of this story?  We've been to a lot of camps.  The other moral of this story?  Our threshold for consuming instant mashed potatoes and powdered eggs is, without question, abnormal.

When this new church we joined announced Family Camp was approaching, I instantly knew two things.  1. We were going.  2.  I would have to grin and bear it - because let's face it.  Going to camp is a lot like hanging out in someone's scab for a few days.

We forked over the money and I started packing bags because I knew - the kids would have fun, hanging out with friends is always really great, and hey - camp may be the reason why Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer were invented.

You can imagine how quickly my jaw hit the floor when I opened up the door to our "room" and beheld this glorious site.  Church Glamping.  Oh heavenly day.

Camp Tejas is beautiful.  Most of the buildings not only contain adorable rooms, they also have a common area where families can hang out together while babies are napping or after the kids are down for the night.

Don't you want to live here?

The campground is wooded.  It's quiet.  There are trails for walking and running. 

Someone else cooked all of my children's meals.  They gorged on sugary cereals, unlimited juice, and all the foods I've worked really hard to convince them contain cancer.  "You can't get cancer at camp, sweetie."  When I told him the news, Ashton's face lit up.  He ate until he was about to explode at every meal.  Camp Tejas even accommodated Hudson's gluten-free diet.  They also accommodated my need to drink coffee .03 seconds after opening my eyes in the morning - and then to drink coffee about 10 minutes later - and then an hour later - and then 3 hours later - you get the point.  There seemed to be coffee machines (with espresso option!) around every bend.  I think they may keep coffee machines in the woods.  Just in case.

I had many favorite moments at camp. I loved getting to be with my kids and with other families from our church while our children were experiencing activities they don't encounter every day (or ever).  Watching them work together, navigate friendships, and understand each other better was a gift.

The kids and families played games together.

The men attempted to hospitalize one another.

There was a great deal of swimming.  The swimming pool has a lazy river, diving boards, and a giant water slide.

What stuck out to me the most was what a privilege it was to be present with my kids during moments when they were confronted with fear.  I can't put into words what it feels like to watch your child want to do something and then watching fear cause them to shrink back.  We were given the privilege this weekend to walk with our kids through their uncertainty.  They were given opportunities to trust us as their parents - "I wouldn't allow you to slide down this zip line if I thought you would get hurt.  I really like you, remember?  I want to keep you around. You're going to be so proud of yourself when this is over.  It's only scary for a minute.  Then it's fabulous - something you'll never forget - a moment you'll have with you for the rest of your life.  Fear steals from us.  It causes us to turn our back on what we really want.  Will you trust us?"

We stood with other parents as they spoke the same encouraging words over their own children.  That moment when a child overcomes fear and realizes what a liar it can be - it's beautiful.  Getting to clap and cheer and celebrate with our own kids and kids from church when they lived out that moment?  What an honor.

Every single time they tried something new or stood up to their fear and gave it a confident mooning, I was overcome with gratitude that I was there with them.  It was a pleasure to witness these moments of victory, faith, and reward with our boys.

I forgot to tell you - while we were at camp, Ashton was raptured.  He went straight home to be with Jesus.  Look at all the other children's faces.  So sad.  They wish they could go.  Ashton was the only one that was ready, I guess.  The rest of us immediately got out our Tim Lahay books and began to prepare.  

The campground was posh.  The memories our kids made seem like pure treasure. The opportunity to be present and celebrate with our kids when they took risks and experienced new emotions and activities was really meaningful. Putting kids to bed at night and hanging out with friends until so late I kind of wanted to cry - was worth every second of lost sleep.  I think it's harder in this day and age and this season of life to make and keep friends.  Life is busy.  It's full.  Purposefully slowing down and carving out space to be together as a family and with other families we know seems like a really smart investment of time and money.  Camp Tejas is the perfect location for bringing all of those pieces together. This was our first family camp, but we loved it so much our kids are down-right irked we don't have the date set for next year so they can write FAMILY CAMP in sharpie marker on the calendar.

If you live in Texas, Camp Tejas not only hosts summer camps, they also are available for retreats, or even for families to get away and hang out together.  Camp Tejas is located in Giddings - which is only about an hour's drive from where we live.  

What about you?  Have you ever been to Family Camp?  Does your church do this?  Family Camp is a relatively new concept to me.  Would you go if your church offered this model?  Do you agree it's harder to make and keep friends when you're in the season of life that involves working a lot and raising a houseful of kids?

I loved this article in the New York Times about how difficult it can be to make friends when you're over 30.  The comments are interesting too.

Long live Family Camp.  And the coffee machines.  

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Aussie in Texas

Our friend Becca is a real-life Australian and she's here visiting with us this week.  She has the most fabulous accent and says things like, "She fell pregnant" and "I'll do it straight-away" and "You have heeps of cereal" and "I really want some lollies [candy]" and "It tastes like fairy floss [cotton candy]" and "I forgot my sunnies [sunglasses]" and "He was injured - but only had a few niggles [minor injuries]" and "You need a whipper-snipper [weed-eater]" and my favorite - "I'll go put on my thongs [flip-flops]."

I know she's not Mary Poppins and that Mary Poppins isn't Australian - but it matters not.  I feel like Mary Poppins is here at my house.  When she read Hudson a book the other night, I hung on every word.  I half expected her to put the book down after she finished and say, "Spit Spot.  Let's go tidy up the nursery."  And then I wanted a nursery.

We met Rebecca (and her husband, Barry) in Haiti.  Becca is in the process of founding a really beautiful organization called Library for All.  Library for All will be an online library stocked with millions of ebooks, course material, and resources. They desire to unlock the world's knowledge and make it available for free to the future leaders of the developing world. By unlocking knowledge and making it available to the poor they will give them the tools they need to take themselves out of poverty.

If what Library for All is working to accomplish is inspiring to you, be sure to follow along with Becca as she gets this vision off the ground.  You can find Library for All on Twitter and Facebook.

Becca will be heading back to Haiti soon, but since this was her first time in Texas, I felt like it was my obligation (and privilege) to feed her Mexican food and Blue Bell Ice Cream. She's been to America before - but not Texas.  I did my job as a Texan and made it really clear that coming to America and coming to Texas are not the same things.  We Texans - we know how to make ice cream and cheese enchiladas - but most importantly we know how to be absolutely obnoxious about our State.  Yee-haw!

If you're from Texas, but don't live here anymore - what is the main thing you miss about The Lone Star State?  I have a couple more days with Bec.  Maybe I can cram all the Texas Awesome in before she goes.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Family Camp Hangover

After brainstorming "How can we live at Family Camp forever" and failing to come up with a solid plan, we reluctantly said good-bye to Camp Tejas yesterday afternoon.  We drug our tired bodies in the front door of our house and quickly began the process of doing absolutely nothing.  This morning I sat on the couch and watched every single family member surface from their post-Family Camp coma.

"I feel like someone is squeezing my legs really tight." -- Ashton

"It hurts to breathe.  I can barely move."  -- Hayden

"My entire body hurts.  It hurts so bad, there is no way I can do school today."  -- Anson (insert eye roll from his mother)

"Can you massage my back, mom?  It feels like it is about to fall off."  -- Anson

"I wish I could have experienced camp with less of my body." -- Aaron

Hudson woke up running a fever.  These people are falling apart over here.  I have no idea what's wrong with my family.  I mean - it's not like they did anything physical this weekend.  Such a mystery.
Laugh at your friends, and if your friends are sore; So much the better, you may laugh the more. -- Henry Ward Beecher