Friday, June 29, 2012

Who wants dinner???

Well, our critter trap is at it again! We never did catch the Mama possum last summer and she's back to nesting in our flower beds. I guess she had another litter because we caught another one of her babies tonight.

This little fellow was feisty and not at ALL interested in playing "possum". He wanted revenge for his captivity. (Poor misguided fellow.) We plan to drive him about 10 miles out and set him free. John said why bother... he'll probably end up road kill anyway! =) Dinner, anyone?

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

YAY! My kids are colorblind!

Most of my readers are aware that we spent nearly 4 years living in the San Francisco Bay Area. We learned much about culture shock while living there, as it was quite like moving to a foreign country. The SF bay area is a melting pot of ultra-diverse ethnicities and we quickly discovered that Caucasians were minorities. I have never experienced how it felt to truly be a minority group until then. It was interesting. There were over 150 different languages spoken in the city we lived in alone. Here is a pie chart of the demographics in the city we lived in:
As this graphic demonstrates, Caucasians are considerably outnumbered. I was reminded of my minority status most at my sons' preschool. I LOVED their preschool. It breaks my heart that Jossilyn won't be able to attend that wonderful school. However, when John attended, he was one of four. caucasians in his class. The rest were of Asian descent. Matthew was the ONLY caucasian in his class. Again, the rest were Asian. When John started Kindergarten in Cali, again, he was surrounded by children of multiple ethnicities and backgrounds.

As a result of this exposure during my sons' early, formidable years, they became extremely color blind. They never noticed or realized that they were "different" than the rest of their classmates. When we moved back to Texas, they brought that racial innocence with them. I have NEVER had a talk with my children about how some people have different color skin or some people speak differently. I never had to. My kids only saw people... not the differences.

A few days ago, I had a hilarious reminder that my sons still carry this gift with them. Our family recently had the opportunity to spend some time at a housewarming party for some friends. We were having so much fun that we completely overstayed our welcome and soon found we were the only guests left along with the host family.

James and his friend were outside on the porch when Matthew (my 6 yr old) walked out. He studied James' friend for a minute and then blurted out, "Your whole family is black!!"

James was shocked and a little embarrassed, but our friends took it well and laughed. Then Matthew continued, "But your WHOLE family is black!!" as if he couldn't quite figure out why they weren't a mixture of races. The funniest part of it was that Matthew was genuinely surprised by this discovery.

I pray my children always view the world so simply and see people for their character rather than their color. What a gift the innocence of children is!

On another note... today is my Daddy's 62nd birthday!!! Happy birthday, Daddy! I love you so much and I'm so thankful that I am blessed to be your daughter.
Two days ago was my parents' 41st wedding anniversary! Congratulations to both of you and thank you for being such a solid example of what real, lasting love is and how a marriage should work. It IS possible to be married to the same person for 4 decades, still love them, still LIKE them, and remain completely faithful to them. Good to know. =)
Here's a snapshot of my sweaty, dirty girl at the park yeserday. LOVE my Jossilyn Claire!
Jossilyn is a hoot! She does the funniest things. I love watching how her little two-year old mind works and what makes sense to her. Yesterday, she brought a toy car to me, "parked" it, and scampered away. Here is the parking spot of her choosing:

This past week has been Vacation Bible School (VBS) for my kids. (For my European friends, VBS is like a 5-day Bible camp at church that is held every summer at most churches.) This week was particularly nostalgic for me as my boys attended VBS at the same church I attended for VBS when I was their age. For some of my friends who have been fortunate enough to live in the same place their whole life, that is probably no big deal. I moved around so much and never really had one "place" to call home. So for me, it is extremely special for my kids to be living in the same town where I spent my early childhood, attending the same VBS that I did, and making the same special memories that I carry to this day.
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Monday, June 18, 2012

Father's Day Bliss

This past Christmas, we gave our boys a go kart, which they LOVED! I swear that thing is more work to maintain than a car! For every two days they get to ride it, it spends a week broken in some form or fashion. It's no wonder since the boys push that sucker to it's max of 30 mph! Nearly three months ago, James decided to take a ride on the wild side of the go kart, nearly rolled it, and consequently bent the frame so severely it has been out of commission ever since. We needed a welder to fix it.

Enter my dear friend Robin Rollins' husband Dan into the picture. Dan is a master welder and while they were visiting us for a few days last month, Dan offered to fix the go kart next time he was in town. Turns out he came into town yesterday, on Father's Day. Dan the Man, brought along his Welder and tools and set to work practically rebuilding part of the framework. His hard work paid off in the looks on my boys' faces when they took the go kart for a spin for the first time in 3 months! Priceless!
Thank you SO MUCH, Mr. Dan, for spending your Father's Day making my boys so happy! And thank you, James, for helping!! A little grease never hurt anyone, right?
Jossilyn had her own Father's Day treat surprise for us. She decided to seranade us with her rousing rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star… over and over and over again. I guess the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree. ;-) I managed to get a little of it on video. Enjoy! (She's quite serious about her performance and quite proud of the response.)

Another cute "Jossilynism" from yesterday… we had a Father's Day lunch with James' dad and family at Olive Garden. While there, I took Jossilyn into the ladies' room with me. As we were washing hands, an elderly woman in a wheelchair came in. She smiled at Jossilyn and said, "I like your bow!" Jossilyn eyed her from head to toe, and then in an effort to return the compliment, she replied, "I like your bike!" (At least the lady laughed out loud!)

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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Time for a Change

I got to feeling antsy last night and needed a creative outlet. Rather than redecorate my home at midnight, I opted to give the blog a face lift. After two years with the old look, it was time for a change, don't you think? Do you like it? Leave a comment and give me your feedback. Unless you hate it. Then, keep your comments to yourself. That way, I'll just think I am a true design genius. (Or something like that.)

We spent today celebrating my sweet nephew, Grant's, first birthday! After a long year of constant, unexplained illness and multiple hospital stays, Little G is finally feeling stronger. He still has a compromised immune system, and my sister has to be careful what environments she exposes him to, but we are so blessed and thankful that his health seems to be under control for the time being.

Happy birthday, Little G!!!!!!!!

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

It's Raining Pee

Nine pairs of panties? Check. A week of complete dedication? Check. Toddler willingness? Check. I was armed and ready to tackle the potty training monster for the third and final time. Looking back at my eager and fearless attitude, only a few days ago, I can't help but smile at that young, naive girl and her dreams. Okay, maybe just naive. Has it really been so long that I have forgotten the frustrations and setbacks of potty training?? Apparently so.

My ammo pack…

One critical item I neglected to factor in was our still-not-completely-housebroken puppy. Paris is much better than she was at "going" outside. But her little bladder is so teeny that she has to "go" all the freaking time. Enter Jossilyn into that picture. She wants to use the potty chair. She desires to do the right thing. However, her thimble-sized bladder she apparently inherited from her mother is not always able to comply with Jossilyn's wish to "hold it".

Therefore, I suddenly find myself side-stepping puddles at every turn. There are puddles on the carpet, puddles on the wood, puddles on the tile, puddles on the couch(!)… It's so out of control, I don't know who's nose to rub in what! How does one determine the puddle culprit? Is there a method? If Jossilyn had a tail, it would be neatly tucked betwixt her legs, just as Paris' is. They both cower and run from me when my nice and dry foot suddenly submerges is a warm, freshly made pool. Are they conspiring against me? I'm beginning to wonder.

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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Somebody Grab the Marshmallows!

On a whim, James decided to pack up and spend a four-day weekend with his close friend, Roger, in Ruidoso, New Mexico. It sounded fine to me - I'm still trying to even things up since my trip to London in February. I think, in hindsight, that checking mountain conditions first might have been prudent.

James' friend lives in Alto, just a few minutes from Ruidoso. Upon arrival, James was shocked to find that there was an out-of-control forest fire burning just miles from his friend's house. (?!?) He texted me this picture just hours after he arrived…

That's not sunlight on the left side of the picture. Those are flames. Hot, giant, leaping flames. This morning they had to quickly throw a few things in the car and evacuate. The fire is raging and zero percent contained as of now. James left his beloved truck behind, and I don't mind telling you he's fretting a bit about that. We're keeping our fingers crossed that the wind is favorable tonight and tomorrow so he can get back up to Alto to get his truck. Hopefully, it won't be too crispy.

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Part of the Picture

Two posts in one day??? I must be on glue. Kidding. I just had something pop into my head and I thought I would share. Even though I am abstaining from FB, I still read it. I'm not strong enough to just quit and I don't think that addiction qualifies for a 12-step program. Yet.

Anyway, as I was perusing FB today, I saw that my niece had posted a picture of herself with the caption "makeup is a girl's best friend". Now, my niece is supermodel beautiful with a supermodel figure and a heart to match. Lord knows she does not need makeup. BUT… we are Texan girls and even I don't get the mail without my lips and lashes. That got me to thinking…

Now that I have a daughter, what image do I want to project to her? What do I want her to emulate? Don't get me wrong, I will definitely be teaching her the beauty tricks of the trade. After all, we are  females. But at the same time, I want her to be confident in her own skin. I want her to feel beautiful at all times because of who she is, not because of her abilities with Bare Essentials. That is something I have struggled with my whole life. 

Most people know I was a victim of childhood bullying. That experience changed the face of my self esteem for the rest of my life. It has taken me into my 30s to fully appreciate who I am and what I have to offer. It was a long, hard-fought battle.

My niece's FB post reminded me that sometimes we girls tend to hide behind the makeup. It becomes a mask or a crutch that allows us to step outside of our comfort zone based on false confidence. That confidence should stem from the beauty inside and be complimented by the makeup - not replaced by it.

My hope for my daughter is that she will be strong and confident enough to be judged on her heart and not worry what image her physical image is projecting. I did a little experiment to illustrate that.

In the first frame, you see me fully adorned in makeup. In the second frame, you see me raw and vulnerable wearing nothing but moisturizer. Each frame is a part of me, but not the whole me.
In this next photo, you see that the above was actually one image, split into two. This illustrates how it takes all of that combined to complete me. The "real" me is complimented by the makeup, but it is still me in the picture. I didn't change; only my reflection did. Beauty is only skin deep. Makeup makes us more aesthetically pleasing, but it doesn't change who we really are. I hope my daughter always feels as beautiful in her second frame as she is in her first. I hope the rest of you do, as well.

I'm adding this last photo just to prove to you readers that I did not walk around all day with only half my face made up. That would just be stupid. =)
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Back to the Basics

I have decided to take a break from Facebook, which has inadvertently replaced my blog in the world of updates. Facebook is so instantaneous. It reaches hundreds instantly with the click of a button. It's also public. And permanent. Things said or done on such a public, open forum cannot be undone. Often, hurtful things are said. I think I like the anonymity of my blog. I don't know who views or reads it. No one hits a "like" button, so for all I know I am talking to myself. But that's okay, too. Writing this is cathartic for me and it helps to organize my thoughts on paper. I need some zen right now, anyway.

It's been a crazy few weeks. It's also been a hard few weeks. My beautiful, vibrant cousin just lost her first baby to Trisomy 13. This has devastated the whole family. It has brought back anew the overwhelming emotions and memories of losing my own child. I only hope that through this terrible bond we now share, that I can offer her some words of comfort. Pray for us.

On a positive note, we got a puppy! There are conflicting stories as to how this puppy came to be a member of our family, but MY version (not my hubby's) is the truth. The kids were hungry and, as usual, they voted for McDonald's. As we were pulling out of the McDonald's parking lot, having satiated our appetites, we noticed a clean cut young man selling lab puppies out of his truck. The kids promptly commenced to begging for me to stop so they could see the pups. My instincts told me to drive. Fast. But then I caught the eye of a pretty little female black lab pup and couldn't help but be drawn to her. I pulled over. It couldn't hurt to look. Right? After all, I had been saying for years that our next dog was going to be small. As in microscopic.

I pulled over and got out to snuggle the little black pup with dark brown eyes and a very wet tongue. She was precious. Beyond precious. I took her over to the car so the kids could see her. Naturally, they loved her and the begging to keep her commenced. I spoke with the seller who turned out to be a local pastor and was very nice. I told him thank you for indulging us, but there was no way I was getting another big dog - especially a lab puppy. Labs. Chew. Everything. Our three year old Scooby is a delight to own now, but it took three full years for him to calm down. I thought about how old I will be in three years. Heck no. We do not need another lab puppy.

I drove off, puppyless and quite proud of myself. What self control I had shown! The kids started yelling their reminders that I had promised to "run it by Daddy", knowing full well that James would instantly strike down the idea of another dog. I called him from the car. Now, I am blessed to have one of those fancy schmancy cars that is equipped with a built-in blue tooth and carries the call through the car. This a fantastic option… unless you are discussing a new puppy and the call is on speaker for all children to hear.

I called James. He asked if the dog was a lab. It is. He asked if the dog was AKC registered. It was. (Uh-oh. This conversation was not going as it had in my head.) He asked if the kids wanted it. They did. To that, my sweet husband, the one who is supposed to be our voice of reason and talk me out of all the spontaneous knuckle-headed ideas I get, replied, "Sure! Get the dog! Just write a check."

Just write a check??? What the heck just happened here?


I turned around and looked at the kids who were screaming with excitement. I looked at their faces and said, "I guess we're getting a dog." With that we turned around and drove back to that sweet little black puppy. In somewhat of a daze, I handed the pastor a $400 check and drove away - with the dog - from what has to be the world's most expensive trip to McDonald's.

So, without further ado, meet Paris (with her big brother, Scooby)!!