Monday, December 20, 2010

So...first we got there...

A post about Thanksgiving...
When I was a child, and would go away somewhere fun--like Girl Scout camp for instance--upon arriving home, my momma would say to me "Tell me all about it!! So first you got there..."  And I would tell her all the fun things I did on my journey...starting from the very beginning.
And so that is how I will tell you about our trip to Dallas for Thanksgiving 2010.
This was the first Thanksgiving without Jeanie...Earl's momma...Grandma.  Oh how she was missed.  I kept waiting for her to walk into the room...
So...First...we got there...
We flew out early Thursday, Thanksgiving day. 
Once again, I will say...flying is the only way to go!  The flight to Dallas is only 1 hour and 25 minutes.  The drive?  Around 10-12 hours depending on bathroom/eating/"stophittingyourbrother" breaks.  I'll take the plane any day.  And this year we even had to pay for Sam (he's over 2 now), even that did not deter me. 
Grace waiting patiently in Sam's car seat...with a sleepy sort of early morning smile.

When we arrived, we went straight to Luby's for Thanksgiving lunch.  It was painfully clear that someone was missing...there was even, accidentally, an extra empty chair at our table.  Earl and I later decided that Jeanie was there...we just couldn't see her.
Grace and Taylor (Earl's brother's oldest child) were thrilled to finally see each other again!  And I was the only one chose turkey!  Everyone else opted for chicken fried steak. So un-American.  The dessert, however, was the best part.  Have you ever seen the selection of desserts at Luby's?  No?  Well, that is something you must see/select/eat at some point in your life.  It is outta control.
I had chocolate mousse pie in memory of Jeanie.  Then I had some of Sam's dessert.  And maybe my father-in-law got an extra dessert, and I maybe helped him eat that.  I can't say for sure... 
Grace and Taylor and a very large piece of pie.

Then we went the the new Dallas Cowboys stadium.  Oh read that correctly...your eyes do not deceive you.  We went to THE Cowboys game ON Thanksgiving day...
Do you know that I was raised by a trumpet player?  My brain is not wired to understand sports.  At. all.  You can try to explain it to me, you can draw me a diagram, I will even attempt to play the game...I am simply unable to understand it.  I am also terribly anxious in large crowds.  And this place was the definition of "large crowd"...98,000 people there.  Most of them drunk.  All of them very loud. 
I took my knitting...and I stayed very zen thankyouverymuch.
All the "boys" in the family (baby Austin is 9 months old...he is sleeping in the stroller)

The girls...being silly...and excited!   And just look....LOOK! how huge-mongous that stadium behind them is!!!!  Tom (my father-in-law) said that something like 1 billion, 4 million dollars was spent on building it.  So that is this: $1,400,000,000.  And we're in a "recession"....

Earl and a very cold little boy.

The whole crew.  Waiting at the gate to get in!
And then we got in.  Well, the ladies got in.  They had women go through a separate security line because we had to be patted down and I guess they didn't think it was appropriate for a man to pat down a woman....whatever.  The point here is that the women's line went faster than the men's line...go figure.  And so Marcie (my sis-in-law) and I made it through before the boys did...and we had the children.  Naturally.  We had to get creative with entertainment while we waited.  So I pulled out the camera and had them strike some poses.  This next series of pictures is the result of that.  Grace really stepped up to the challenge. 
 Oh. my.  Have I mentioned that my daughter is a total diva?  Yeh...she is.
And then we entered the massive complex and rode four escalators to our seats. 4. Four. Quatro. joke. 
The girls.  At their first ever Cowboy game. 
 Earl and his brother.  And baby Austin. Out of the stroller!
 Paw-paw Tom arranged all of this.  He was so excited.  When the boys were little, Earl and his brother, Billy, they would go to the Thanksgiving Dallas Cowboy game every year.  So as soon as we arrived, Tom went to the pro-shop, and got the girls decked out in official Cowboys gear...shirts and flags and big foam fingers.  There was NO mistaking who we were cheering for.  He even got me a Cowboys hoodie...but there are no pictures of me...I am always the one behind the camera.  'Cause I'm the mom.
Ummm...yah...She never stopped posing...
 Right...I really don't know what to do with this child half the I just take pictures.  And that foam finger?  She held that up everytime the crowd cheered.  Didn't matter if it was for the Cowboys or the Saints.  She held that finger high.  Her daddy was so proud.
Taylor is 8...almost 9.  She is a bit more reserved :)
Baby brother took the chaos in stride.  Like he always does.  Calm.  Collected.  Cool.  That's our Sam. 
And then...during the second half...he fell asleep.  Saints fan's screaming.  Foam fingers flying.  Music blaring.  Didn't matter.  He. was. out.  He slept for a good 30 minutes. People would look at him, then look at me in disbelief and say "Is he asleep?"  Yes...yes he is. 
It was a rousing game.  From what I can understand :) And much fun was had by all.  We were there from 12pm to 7:30pm.
The girls were beat.
This was their "status" 10 minutes after settling into the car.
So the next day...after some serious sleep and a good breakfast complete with  homemade gravy, we went to visit Tom's brother Robert and his family.  I blogged about his wife, Derelyne, last week sometime.  She gave me hot coffee and peanut brittle.  I will forever love her.   And she offered to take a picture of all of us.  So I crawled out from behind the camera and this photo was snapped.
Did you see Sam?  Great...just. great.
We also celebrated an early Christmas while we were there.  Baby Austin had lots of help unwrapping his present.  This is his first Christmas, so I guess he had to have someone show him the ropes.
 Sam got Buzz Lightyear and Woody figurines.  He loves them.  Sleeps with them every night.
 Grace got an Easy Bake Oven.  Cooking with a 100 watt light bulb.  Brilliant idea....
 Taylor really wants to learn to play the piano so she got a keyboard.   We also got her a knitting kit...she wanted to learn to knit like me.  I was more than thrilled to pass down the "art" to someone.  And she picked it up quickly. I was so proud!
 We're winding down the photos now...I think there is something like 28 photos in this post.  That has to be a record.  Don't worry...only a few more.
Sam thought baby Austin's walker was really fun.  He never had a walker.  I guess he's reliving his baby-hood.  And Austin thought it was hilarious when Sam climbed in there all by himself!
Okay...last photo.  I'm wrapping this up.  We flew home early Sunday morning.  Read: we had to get up at 3:30am. But...we were back at our house by 9am.  Bonus. 
Here is sleepy Sam waiting...waiting...waiting.
So we did it.  We got through the first Thanksgiving without Jeanie.  I can't really explain to you what it was like not having her there.  I guess it was just...well...empty.
Lots of memories are being made and she's not there...memories without her.  I think that's the hardest part.
We talked about her a lot.  Laughed.  Told stories.  Remembered.
There is much to be thankful for. 
So there you go..."First...we got there..."

Sunday, December 19, 2010


I am really struggling to do this "a post everyday" challenge.
I brought the above said challenge upon myself.
What was I thinking?
The children are out of school/mother's day out for 2 weeks.
Say a little prayer for me.
And for them.
The birth of Christ approaches.
I am excited.
So are the children.
Our weekend was packed.
Over packed.
I am tired.
But clean.
I just took a long, hot bath.
I have nothing planned tommorow.
Except trying not to lose my mind.
Remember?  The children are here...with me...all. day.
Pray for me.
I am going to bed.

Friday, December 17, 2010

I have a really good excuse this time...
No really...
Get this...
*deep cleansing breath in*
I was trying to download a clip art picture of the nativity to go on my Christmas card labels and instead downloaded some sort of freaky thing that makes your computer think it has a virus so you'll buy the anti-virus softtware advertised immediately after the BIG RED letters appear on your screen screaming "Virus virus virus....trojen horse...virus!!!!!!"  Can you even imagine how much I fah-reaked out!?
Don't worry...Earl fixed it.  I love you Earl...for oh so many reasons.  I think I love you most in this instance for not lecturing me and totally keeping your cool.  Oh yeh, and for fixing the computer.
So that little incident kept me off the computer for one night and then last night I made about 25 sandart brownies in a jar for various teachers and friends and neighbors...although my friends are my neighbors, my neighbors are my friends...whatever...I made a whole heck of a lot of those puppies.  And that is my excuse for yesterday...
I have no excuse for here I am. But I am leaving.  Soon.  And leaving this post short and pictureless....
Tune in tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

This is me...
dropping the ball...
A new post everyday? 
Seriously...what. was I thinking?
And tonight, I'm tired.  With a capital "T"...
And I kinda wanna sit around and drool on myself.
Maybe do a little knitting.
Most definately want to do my best to warm the heck up.
It's cold here.
I'm not complaining.
I'm just sayin'...
I think my eyelashes started to freeze when I walked Grace to school this morning.
And it's not getting warmer anytime soon.
So in an attempt to fullfill my promise of a new blog everyday and cash in on some much needed "droolonmyselfwhilewatchingsmuttv" time, I give you...
"Produce from my garden"
...circa this summer...ya know, when you could go outside with just a t-shirt on and not worry about frostbite.
Yum!  So glad I froze some of that summery goodness to enjoy in the middle of winter.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

We went to Dallas over Thanksgiving.  A blog devoted soley to that trip will be posted--with pictures- shortly (Not "shortly" as in tonight or even tomorrow, but I'll get to it...)  The reason I am telling you this is to lay some groundwork for what I'd like to share with you in this post.
During our time in Dallas we went to visit Earl's uncle Robert.  This is Earl's daddy's older brother.  Robert has a wife named Derelyne.  Family member's lovingly call her "Aunt D"...and boy howdy, she fits that name like a glove!  I immediately took to this woman!  Such a warm personality with fantastic memories of my mother-in-law.  Memories that will have you rolling on the floor with laughter, wishing someone had warned you to go pee...  She shared her peanut brittle receipe with me and made me a fresh cup of coffee.  Aunt D...if you're reading this, the visit with you was the highlight of my trip.  She also shared something else with me.  A picture.  Of Earl's grandpa.  I haven't heard much about the man...just that he lived into his 90's.  I couldn't even tell you his name...
Oh...wait...Earl says his name is Walter.  Walter Robert he thinks.
But when I saw his picture I was speechless...
Here let me show you...
Are you seeing what I'm seeing??  That's Earl...20 years from now! 
See??  Do you see the uncanny freakish similarity??  Even down to how they BOTH went bald the same. exact. way....
I always thought that Earl looked like his momma.  And he does.  Blond hair, blue eyes...short, strong legs. You see, Earl's daddy is over 6 foot.  Earl is by no means over 6 foot.  I can't wear heels because my 5'7" self would be taller than my husband...apparently though Earl's grandfather was not tall like his son (height came from a nameless uncle), but on the shorter his grandson...Earl.  Are you still with me?  I'm starting to confuse myself.  And that sweet round face I fell in love with?  Well...that's from Grandpa Walter too.
If you had asked me before Thanksgiving, before seeing this photo if Earl looked like his daddy's side of the family, I woulda said "Nah...not really"...
But then I saw this photo!  Crazy...just crazy. 
Good to know that my sweet husband will age gracefully.
Thanks Aunt Dee...for the peanut brittle, the coffee, and the history.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

What we did today...

This morning at 8am, the outside temperature was 32...
By 9am, it was 30...
By 10 am, it was 28...
You see where I'm going with this?
It. was. cold.
And getting colder.
But we decided to proceed with our plans.
Our outdoor plans.
We're tough...we have hats and gloves and scarves and really warm coats.
This is our 4th winter here.
We are stocked with cold winter gear.
But folks...Old Man Winter doesn't play around...
and we spent a bitterly cold morning downtown at a Christmas celebration hosted by Sprint.
I love it when someone else foots the bill.

There was cookie decorating.
And lots of instruction to our youngest child not to lick the knife you spread the icing with and then dip it back into the community icing bowl. 
There was hot cocoa.
 Grace likes hot cocoa.  No, that's an understatement.  She loves hot cocoa.  She will tell you it makes her all "warm and toasty" and when she says "warm" it kinda sounds like "worm"...that makes me giggle. 
And then there was spillage of hot cocoa...on the craft table.
Nothing says "Christmas decor" like a sticky cotton ball and some pipe cleaners.
 There was an elf.  A really friendly elf.  With crazy real-looking elf-sih ears.
 And of course, the fat man in red. Grace took the opportunity to tell him she had been "really really good"....the jury is still out on that one.
 He was a very authentic Santa.  Even sported a real beard and it wasn't yellow. 
 20 minutes after arriving, we. were. frozen.  I couldn't feel my thumbs and Sam was curled up in a ball in the stroller (although I'm not sure if that was because of the cold or his paralyzing fear of Santa).  But there was a sleigh ride and there was no way I was missing out on that!  Random fact about me:  I like anything horse drawn.  Carriage...sleigh...covered wagon...hay ride.
It is a memory people...tough it out and enjoy the moment!!
The city was so pretty...the buildings were so big.  And we even got to see the horse poo...bonus. I would have taken more photos, but I couldn't feel my thumbs to push the button.  You'll just have to take my word for it.
But was time to defrost. So we found a restaurant that was offering free kids meals. 
We ordered fried pickles.
 I ordered a cup of coffee.
Grace asked for more hot cocoa.  But settled for chocolate milk.
And we thawed out. 
The temperature has since plummeted and the wind chills are below 0.  I think I just heard the weather man say "-15"...which is totally wrong.  On so many levels. 
Praising God for our warm home and closets full of warm clothes.
Oh...and hot cocoa.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A song...

"Mamas don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys,
 Don't let 'em pick guitars or drive them old trucks,
Make 'em be doctors and lawyers and such.
 Mamas don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys,
They'll never stay home, and they're always alone,
Even with someone they love."
I dropped the ball on posting everyday.
I missed yesterday.
Does the fact that my post from the day before was reeeeeeally long and had lots of pictures?
Oh...well, then...
back on track....

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Disclaimer: I making up for a few posts that didn't have pictures...

This will have A LOT of pictures. Go get a fresh cup of coffee. 
P.S.  I like blogger's new picture uploader thingy...there I said it.

About a month or so ago, I informed Earl that I needed to get away.  Desperately.  I mean, love the the the life.  But mommy was losing it!  He said he'd see what he could do.
Long story not so long...Earl arranged a girls get-away weekend for me and this lady.
My momma. 
Yes...I know...we look alike.  Genetics is some cah-razy stuff.

We went the Tulsa Performing Arts Center to see "Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz"
The musical is based on the book by Gregory Maguire called Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West.  I picked up the book at a garage sale this summer and really got into it. I found out there was a musical based on the book and I told Earl we HAD to go next time it came to town. As you can imagine Earl was beyond horrified thrilled to join me.  He loves artsy sorts of video games where the graphics are so good you can actually see the blood squirt out of your character's carotid artery, and the dull unending roar of a football game.  "Sure honey...I'd love to go to the theater with you.  Oh wait..what's that?  Your mother wants to see that play too?"  It was like the stars aligned.  Earl got out of going to the theater...and I got my weekend away. 
I was beyond excited. 

On Saturday I drove down to my parent's house.  A full 4 1/2 hours of uninterrupted time in the car.  No one asking for a one throwing socks at cartoon movie blaring in the background.  It. was. heaven.  I spent Saturday at my parent's house...just me.  I haven't done that since college. There's something rather therapeutic about walking into my parent's house.  My sister and I both agree that we sleep great there...
That night we went to the local dinner theater and ate our weight in mashed potatoes.  Soul food.   
Then Sunday morning, we headed to Tulsa. 
First stop?  Target of course.  Silly.
Well...actually it was coffee...but the coffee was inside the Target.  That has to be one of the most fantastic concepts in human history.  Putting a Starbucks inside Target.
We shopped and shopped and shopped...then we found a Goodwill we shopped some more.
Then we headed to our digs for the night.
Mom had reserved a hotel room at the downtown Marriot.  Just steps away from the performing arts center.  Read: we drank wine and did not have to worry about driving.
Mom likes to take pictures of bathrooms in the hotel rooms she stays in...
She's not right. Scary thing?  I share half of my genetic make-up with her. I should be afraid. But I'm not...I'm kinda excited. She's fun...
And beautiful...

 Earl told me to go buy a new dress for the show.  Now listen.  I don't buy new stuff.  I get bargains.  At the thrift store.  At any given time, 75% of my outfit is made up of second hand clothing.  But I obliged.  And I found this dress....
It fit like it was made for me.  And no, you may not ask how much I spent...thankyouverymuch.

The final product.  Look Earl!'s me and me in 27 years.   Okay so, maybe we do look alike...I'm only taller because of my heels...
We ate some delicious mashed potatoes and Caesar salad at a swanky restaurant near the performing arts center.  Are you seeing a trend here...with the potatoes?  Yeh...we love mashed potatoes...these had spinach in them.  Ah-ma-zing.  Oh and hummus dip and pitas...

Mom decided, during dinner, to make sure her binoculars were in working condition.  She's old hat at this live show stuff.  I guess when you marry a trumpet player, you become really comfortable in a concert hall.

The show was over the top...unbelievable...everything I thought it would be and so much more!!!!  It was life changing...I can't begin to put it into words.  It sounds so cliche to say this but...just go see it for yourself.
And the flying monkeys weren't too shabby either...certainly a change from the Judy Garland Wizard of Oz version of flying monkeys, eh?
But no...really...go see it. Make it a weekend. Spend some intense quality time with someone you love and who loves you right back.

We got up Monday morning and ate breakfast at the Blue Dome Diner.  Good. food.

 We both hated to leave.  We lingered a long time.  Drank just one more cup of coffee.
We didn't want it to end...but it did and all too soon. 
But not before my mother wrote this on the bathroom stall....oh. my.
Thanks Earl...Thanks momma...
Can we do it again next year?