Thursday, July 21, 2011

Please pray

I am a blog stalker.  There.  I admit it. 
And I have a few blogs that I follow faithfully.  Blogs of people that I have never met, and probably never will.  It's a glorious thing...this technology that links us in ways that, 10 years ago, we only dreamed about.
And now I am going to make you a blog stalker.  That's right...I'm asking for prayers for a family I have never met. 
I am asking for prayers for Courtney and her sweet son Tripp.
Tripp has a rare skin disease called "EB" (short for epidermolysis bullosa) can read all about exactly what it is on her blog:
Please go visit her about Tripp...and pray.  Pray for comfort, for peace...pray. 
And remember that we are all connected...

Friday, July 8, 2011

Grace got her ears pierced this past May.  I don't know if I mentioned this on here yet or not.  She did not cry.  Not one little tear.  She didn't even grimace.  I was absolutely shocked.  I figured my little diva would fall into a pile of tears and sobbing on the floor after the incident.  But nope, she smiled proudly, looked at her daddy, and said "What do you think?!"  
Well...Paw-paw got wind of the newly pierced ears and asked if he could buy her some diamond earrings.  (Side note:  Do you know that Earl is very good at choosing jewelry for me?  Well he is...apparently it is something he learned from his father.  So men...teach your sons well!  Their future wives will thank you someday.)  I told Paw-paw diamond earrings would be fine with me on one condition.  They must have screw-on-backs. 
So Paw-paw bought diamond earrings with screw-on-backs.  They are bigger than my diamond earrings...and I am 32 years old.  Isn't there some sort of law out there that says a 6 year old should not have bigger diamond earrings than her mother?
Grace was over-the-top excited about her new bling.  I really didn't expect such a reaction...but I suppose every female human has some sort of "diamond instinct" built into their DNA.  Grace knew exactly what these little sparkly rocks were.  To say she was thrilled is a large understatement.
 My little diva...rocking it out with diamond  There's not a baby book out there that warns ya of this stuff.
Oh and it's summer break ya know?  Well....while baby brother takes a nap every afternoon, Grace and I watch an episode of "Toddlers and Tiaras" on Netflix.  Grace says she really really wants to be in a pageant....oh. my.  Pray for me.  And pray for the man she marries...that he is very patient and likes to shop for jewelry.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Vacation 2011

Wow...are you ready for this?  Seriously.  I just uploaded over 40 pictures to go with this one blog entry.  That's kinda ridiculous.  But whatever...go git a cuppa coffee.  Yer gonna need it.
Oh and by the's 4pm on a Tuesday.  We're still in our pajama's and watching Toddler's and Tiaras.  No...I am not joking.  This is all true.  I couldn't not make this stuff up if I wanted to...(P.S. Now it's Thursday...I'm reading thru the post to make sure it makes sense before I post's's almost 11am...and we're still in our p.j's.  I'm starting to see a trend here)
Vacation 2011.
This was our very first official "get-in-an-airplane-and-fly-somewhere" vacation.  We went to San Antonio, TX.  It's hot there.  I'm not gonna lie. But Shamu lives there...and when Shamu splashes gallons water on you, you're not so hot anymore.  Locals will tell you that it's a "dry" heat.  Whatever that is....I say 104 degrees feels like 104 degrees whatever way you cut it.  I told the locals I wasn't complaining...we had snow up to our mailbox this past winter.  Bring on the heat! I can take it!
So the first day, Friday, we went to Sea World. Grace was super excited, as only Grace can be.  She could hardly contain herself.  She was oozing excitement.
 We rushed to the front gates, eager to spend the day with Shamu and her (his?) friends.
(There's a little part in there about me losing my cell phone and thinking it fell out of my pocket.  But it was all okay. Turns out in my excitement I left it on top of the car...all 104 degree heat.  It still works by the way.  Now that's a quality product people.)
 Our first order of business was to let the boys (the big boys...Earl and his brother) ride the Steel Eel.  Then Earl made me ride it.  Then we got a beer.  At 10am in the morning.  The vendor laughed and called us "weekend warriors"...I told him we were on vacation and had just survived almost certain death on a terrifying roller coaster.  I deserved that beer.
Then we cooled off in the penguin house.  Curious little creatures, penguins.  God must have had a fine time dreaming them up.  I have no pictures of the flightless birds, only a picture of my little baby boy bird watching them.
 Then we went to see the Shamu show.  And what a show it was!  Very impressive!  We even got to see the newest baby whale born in the park only months before.  I cried when I saw the baby swimming alongside his momma...such a precious creation.
 Baby cousin Austin fell asleep right in the middle of eating his goldfish crackers.  Poor guy.  I can't blame was a long day!  But boy did we have fun!  And we didn't even see all of the time, we'll go back a second day.
 On Saturday, we went north to the Natural Bridge Caverns.  The girls spent time waiting for Paw-paw by jumping from rock to rock.
 Baby brother tried to imitate them, but got a little he chose to squat and watch instead.
 A few "cousin" shots while we waited.
 And a picture of me and Earl.  On a very large orange dinosaur.  I'm not exactly sure what the dinosaur has to do with the caverns...but it made for a good photo op.
 There was even a baby dinosaur.  I told the girls to make a crazy face.  This is what I got.
Then it was on to take our walking tour of the Natural Bridge Caverns.  Here's why it is called "Natural Bridge Caverns".....
See the rock bridge created when part of the caves collapsed hundreds of years ago?  No...we didn't get to walk across it.  That's was kinda scary and narrow.  I was totally okay with admiring it from afar.
And don't you love this sign posted at the entrance to the cave?   Isn't it so true?  And not just about spelunking...about life in general. 
Entering the caves.  Grace really doesn't know what she's in for, this is her first cave tour...but she's all in and she's excited!
See??...absolute excitement about the unknown. Look up excitement in the will see this:
A 3 generation picture.  I sure do love all these boys.
Grace and Taylor at the very first part of the caves.  We were instructed not to touch ANYTHING...and I don't know about you, but when I heard this, all I wanted to do was touch EVERYTHING!!  It was tough, I'm not gonna lie...the cave walls and formations were so pretty and foreign and I wanted to touch them!!!
But...don't worry, turns out I'm not the only person that yearns to touch the rocks that grow like amazing stone flowers.  There was ONE rock that was the designated "touching rock"...both girls were quick to reach out and touch was I...
and guess what, it felt just like a rock.  Go figure.
These pictures just do not do this place justice.  We descended 180 feet down into the cave.  And there we encountered room after room of rock columns, stalactites, stalagmites, and many other kinds of rock formations.  Formed over hundreds and hundreds of years.  It takes each column 100 years to grow one cubic inch.  I think the tallest column was 32 feet high.  For reals...that is crazy.   
Oh...did I mention that Earl carried the baby the entire way?  Yeh, he did.  Sam was scared.  I'm not sure how far he carried him...but I do know it was over a time frame of about an hour.  And Sam weighs 35 pounds.  That's quite a load to carry!  And the floor was damp and slippery...and Earl had on flip-flops.   Good times...good times. 
The picture below is of the biggest room in the cave system called "The Hall of Giants" 
Fascinating.  Mind-blowing. Makes a girl feel very small in a very big world.
And here Grace is showing you a cave formation called "Fairy Castles"...she was seriously looking for a fairy after she saw this. 
See...Earl carried the baby through the entire cave.  He hung on like a baby monkey.
The whole group--well, except for me, but we've already talked about how momma is never in the picture.  Always behind the camera. *sigh*
But wait!  Earl remembered!  A picture of me standing in front of a ginormous rock column!  Oh Joy!
And me again...carrying Sam.  Imagine that...someone carrying the 35lb 3 year old with perfectly healthy and capable legs.  He might be a little bit spoiled...I couldn't say for sure.
And another picture of me with Taylor and a very pouty Grace...
And then we emerged blinking into the light...very thirsty and in Grace's case, cranky.  Sam, who had been terrified of the entire cave experience, began to weep and wail as we exited the cave.  He began to cry that he wanted to "go back into cave"...that he indeed was not scared.  Maybe he felt like he had something to prove...I dunno...but I thought it was funny.  So I took a picture.
After a hot day at the caves, we headed back to hotel to grab some lunch and regroup.  Then we walked over to the Alamo for a quick history lesson before dinner.
I've been to the Alamo several times in the past, but it always fascinates me.  To be right on top of such history...I just can't wrap my mind around it.
Sam liked the fountains best.  Or maybe he liked the money he got from Paw-paw to throw into the fountains.  All I know is he's smiling and no one is having to carry him...the day was looking up.
Earl really liked this diorama (is that what it's called?--whatever, it's a little model of what the Alamo and the area around the Alamo looked like back in the day) and he wanted to show the kids.  I thought it was a sweet Daddy/Son I snapped a picture.  Then I got yelled at by the Alamo staff for taking pictures inside the bad, folks, my bad.  Putting the camera away...
Another sweet Daddy/Son moment...outside...where a girl doesn't get yelled at for taking pictures.  I sure do love these boys.
It was hot (but a "dry heat"...) so after the Alamo we headed to get some dinner on the Riverwalk.  The wait was insane.  We parked the kids at a table near the bar (not actually in the bar...what kind of parents do you think we are?!)...And got them some ice-cold lemonade...mommy got a margarita...daddy got a beer.  Then the wait didn't seem so bad and the air conditioning felt oh-so-good!
The next day was Sunday.  We headed north to Gruene, TX (pronounced "Green") and went to eat at the Gristmill.  Earl had eaten there on a trip to TX a little over a year ago and I had heard about it from the Food Network.  The food is said to be ah-ma-zing.  While we waited for our table the kids sat with Paw-paw in the shade.   
What a crew!  Oh, and Grace is wearing sunglasses because she got sunscreen in her eyes and went into total meltdown mode.  Sunglasses seemed to help both with the sunscreened eyes and the meltdown. 
After we got seated at our table....Sam had a meltdown.  Sheesh!  Good thing I only have two children!  The meltdowns seemed contagious.  So I gave him my camera.  That seemed to do the trick.  The following pictures were taken by Sam. 
A pretty good pic of Paw-paw!
And the next two pictures are of me, taken by Sam...doing what I do best....
Eating....(the onion rings were phenomenal by the way)
and talking with my hands....
Eating at the Gristmill was a great finale to our vacation.  It was by far the best hamburger I have ever eaten.  And the onion rings?  Well...I ate them all and I did not share.
And now we come to the very last photo...
Sam's stroller parked in the motorcycle parking.  'Cause he's cool like that.
Kay...that probably the longest post I've ever written.  It took me 3 days to write.  If you've made it this far...Congratulations and thanks.  We really did have a fantastic time in San Antonio.  It's such a pretty city with lots of fun stuff to do.  But most of all, we enjoyed simply being together.  I have a pretty nice little family...if I do say so myself :)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Grace dances.

It's the afternoon of July 4th.  We spent the morning at a parade in a small town near where we live.  Then we went to the store and bought beer and ingredients to make homemade vanilla ice cream.  I've been cooking most of the afternoon.  Zucchini squash quiche, a family favorite.  Fresh corn.  Peach Pie.  Sliced tomatoes and cantaloupe. The house is dripping with the smells of summer food.  Earl is outside mowing.  Sam has been attempting and mostly failing to nap.  Grace has been in and out, in and out...
I took a break from cooking to spend some time on the treadmill (Gotta work off all that butter and sugar and cream somehow!) and when I finished, I couldn't find Grace anywhere.  I couldn't find Earl anywhere for that matter.  The mower was silent.  The house was silent (Sam finally gave into sleep).  Maybe they went to get fireworks.  Maybe they went over to the neighbor's house.  I spent 10 minutes searching for half of my family before I spotted them in the school playground behind the house...hitting golf balls together...and cheering after each swing.  Have I mentioned?...Life is grand. 

But on to Grace and dancing.  Here are the annual pictures of Grace performing in her dance recital.  It never gets old...all the sparkles and sequins and frill.  This tomboy must admit...I really like dressing up my little "doll"...Toddlers and Tieras watch out!  And yes...yes I did put mascara on my 6 year old.  Don't be a hater. 
 The boys waited in the auditorium while I got Grace situated back stage. 
 And then the show began.
There was some brief hesitation.  The lights are bright! The music is loud! Are we all together?  Where's my mom sitting?  Oh!  There she is!  *Frantic waving*
There was some shuffle-ball-chaining...
 And then just as quickly as it was over.  There was a bow.  And then quick quick backstage for a costume change.
 Because it wasn't really over.  When you start Kindergarten you get to dance two dances.  The second dance was a jazz dance.  And my favorite!
 There was some singing along....
 And some terribly cute little poses...
 I love this picture below.  See the cutie in the back row?  She's dancing to the beat of her very own little drum.  A-dor-a-ble!!!
 And then it was really really...that's the end. 
Take a bow baby are a rockstar.
The obligatory family photo with the this point, baby brother was D-U-N.  3 out of 4 smiling for the camera...we'll take it. 
Okay...back to the kitchen.  There is pie to be made.