Friday, December 28, 2012

Source: via Sari on Pinterest

Saturday, December 22, 2012


Sand Castles

...for all the help, big and small in my life. Apparently Santa is too.

Speaking of buliding castles, we are celebrating the Twelve Days of Giving this year. This new perspective has opened the door to a mulititude of opportunities and conversations.  Can't wait to share more...right after I whittle down this to-do list just 48 hours before Christmas dawn.

Merry merry, friends!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Edom Up

A fair bit ago, we went a blueberry picking with our friends, 
Leigh and little Fisher.

And the berries were downright plentiful.

So while we all got busy discussin' and gatherin' and

 tryin' to pick the sweetest darkest blue ones,

we occasionally went a grabbin' and tastin'

a red one. Oh my gee willikers. 

The temperature, like much of what we've had here of late 
was three digits high,

so after some lunch and homemade blueberry pie, a la mode, 
we put on our thinking caps

and ventured on over to the more cultured side of town.

Only to find that they were...

So with one last pretty pickin'

we called it a day

in a ever so suitable, small town way.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Golden Opportunities

Last week we embarked on summer field trip adventure #513 at The Choctaw Cacino.  Yes, we are those parents. We did, in fact, consider Chuck E. Cheese but had a hard time distinguishing the difference. Then, the kids reminded us of the enchanting water slide and pool that the folks in Oklahoma so graciously included in their list of activities. I tell you, it is simply irresistible...for all ages. Well, almost all ages. My mom still remains uncertain about the exposure her precious grandchildren lay open to in such an environment. I assured her we consistantly use nothing less than SPF 50, although I don't know that sun damage is necessarily what she was talking about.

So, for YOU, Mom, I have captured a little pictorial documentation of exactally what goes on behind casino cabana doors.

For starters, see below the youngest looking tortured. Or water-logged. Whichever is most settling.

On another note, Maren just saw this shot of Ryan and commented, "You always have a picture of him like that." Turns out, after some research either she's right or Beyonce's "To The Left" is synced with my camera lens.

Moving on, here is the next to youngest loosing ground just in front of the blue lagoon. He may never recover.

Note: Mom - I want to reassure you I'm not talking of the Blue Lagoon flick with Brooke Shields that you didn't allow me to watch without a constant commentary of what was and wasn't right about that blissfully ficticious island situation. Thank you and without your endless love I might not have turned out so well. *wink wink*

But alas it appears that no permanent damage was done to any of the boys.

Now for their sisters, the jury is still out...

The one night stay just didn't allow for enough situations to prove positive of their resilience. I will most likely need about 10-15 years to gather evidence for certainty. For now, you can rest assured we are seizing all Blue Lagoon opportunities. But all bluffing aside, I'm betting on the good.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Thoughts Wanted, Apply Within

If you knew that right now, Jesus and God were talking about you, 
how would that make you feel?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

5 Favorites

The weather in Texas has been typical this spring.  Crazy one minute, divine the next.  After 40 years, I have officially decided that my all-time favorite day, weather wise is a sunny 69℉ that feels like 52℉ with 50% humidity, 10.0 mile visibility and winds blowing from the WNW at 6mph.

Impressed with my meteorology skills? Don't be. I do however, cut and paste well.

Perfect weather. Ahhhhhhh, bliss.

Wait...go back up.

Did you see the little spider that sat down beside her?
Yeah, about that. Although I do love all God's creatures, spiders are not one of my favorites. Hear ye! Hear ye! I'm not talking regular seat at the local arachnophobic support group just yet, but you do have to admit that they are fairly assuming for their size.  Case in point, she didn't spin into my #one favorite day photo with invitation in hand leg. Thank you.

And pansies in May you say? Well, they have done so supremely well this year that I haven't had the heart to rip them from their lush soil digs. But I will soon. Probably right after I spy the newest shipment of New Guinea Impatiens at Callaways, or after my neighbor plants a gorgeous spread in his garden.

Word of the day: Incentive.

Flowers bring me great cheer, so a lovely bouquet in my home certainly makes the cut. I'll even voice that a vase of fresh flowers is one of, if not the best anti-depressants on the market, with minimal side effects I might add. That is, unless you are an allergy sufferer, and if so hopefully you and the nedi pot are very good friends. We personally, go way back.

Now take a peek at the mirror that is reflecting the bouquet. That was my Grandmama's. I adored her. She was one of a kind, as is the mirror. When I inherited it, the silver was significantly worn so I took it to the glass and mirror shop for a renewed luster. During the hauling from here to there and there to here we instantly discovered it weighs five trillion pounds which is not one of my favorites but plainly has an established benefit in regard to thieves.

#Four.  #Five.
Two delicious choices, not necessarily paired together for tasting, but more for the composition of the photo. Regardless of the poor photo, promise you will try KerryGold Dubliner cheese and Harney and Son's Paris tea if you haven't already. And for whatever reason, if one or the other cannot be found at your local grocery or market, stop by and I'll be more than happy to share because sharing is how favorites are brought to light anyway, right Oprah?

Until we meet again.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Emily's Place

It was almost a year ago when I ventured away from my natural habitat
and discovered a new, very different surrounding where the doors are always
revolving and the needs are never ending.

As with any unearthed territory, the uncertainty can have it's qualms
but in reality, the differences are not significant at all, inasmuch as it is
similarity that holds the welcome home sign for all of us.

These are some of the
precious kiddos that I have
had the honor of knowing and
loving at the Providence Network.

Being a part of
this non-profit has been
such an amazing blessing.
It is true greatness when
you believe you are
in the right place at the
right time in life.

Unquestionably when
the hors d'oeuvres include
melt-your-heart smiles.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Sacred Moment in Time

Yesterday at this very place,

My youngest niece, with the chosen name of Margaret, was baptized.
 I'm having a hard time finding the words to describe the beauty of this occasion.

And of her gown.

And of the family. 

And additionally things such as my sister's lovely blue eyes. 
And the other half of Oldest Son's smile. 
And Darling Daughter number two?

Providentially, the Godfather knew just what to say.

He made her an offer she couldn't refuse. 

Hello, Ella. 

But in the end, it was Maggie who led the way 
as we all were found going to the mattresses

Beautiful day. Beautiful child of God. 

The only wealth in this world is children;
more than all the money, power on earth, you are my treasure. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Coast to Coast Housekeeping

I found a couple of vintage cookbooks while doing some spring cleaning this week.

Recipes from oyster salad to chill pills. Literally. HOUSEKEEPING IN OLD VIRGINIA was originally published in 1879. Such a fun step back in time. For example, a coffee cake recipe calls for one "teacup" of molasses. Can't you just hear it?

"Alice, hand me that Haviland cup and the Blackstrap, please."

Another one of the books titled WEST COAST COOK BOOK happened to be written by Helen Brown, which is my mother-in-law's name.

So interesting, however she never lived in California, Oregon or Washington I don't believe. Hmmm, I'll have to verify that. She did in fact live in Hawaii, in 1941 and was a mere 6 years old when Pearl Harbor was bombed. She actually remembers the jolt and watching the nails being jarred from the walls. She remembers her mother gathering their most prized possessions (a fur coat for one) and scurrying Helen and her siblings along while her father kissed them goodbye as they were some of the first to board the boat. Amazing. Can you imagine? I'm sure the only explanation for her mother's presence of mind was the chill pill she obviously took that morning. And afternoon. And evening.

Chill Pills.

Sulph. quinine, two drachms; arsenious acid, one grain; strychnia, one grain; Prussian blue, twenty grains; powered capsicum, one drach. Mix and make sixty pills. Take one pill three times a day.  Dr. E.A.C., Housekeeping in Old Virginia, M.C. Tyree, 1879.

Class dismissed.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

To Know

Raising a tribe of children can be challenging. According to Google, with this leading role I mingle the inner circle of Angelina Jolie, Nadya Suleman and primitive body artists.

Good to know.

I also learned this week from my 16 year old that my lack of support as her mother has caused irrefutable damage to her grades, social life and activities. According to her, it may take a lifetime to earn her forgiveness. And in the meantime, I am welcome to buy her a baboosh.

Again, good to know.

As I take all this in, I reflect on the certainty that the earlier years of parenting are far more physically exhausting while the youth and teen years tend to be more of a mental beating. Over time there have been countless occasions when my sanity has been questioned (daily according to my 18 year old) and often I find myself wondering if what I'm laughing at should really be scolded and more importantly if what I'm scolding might be handled better with a good laugh.

Like on Tuesday when my 6 year old called his 12 year old brother a white bitch. During a Wii game. Directly in front of the 6 year old innocent bystander he begged to have over for the afternoon.

And then there was yesterday.

After every possible resource had been tapped, it seemed that my 12 year old was destined to miss the traditional 6th grade father/child river trip. He was such a sad camper. Then older brother got a wiff of the situation and by golly, compassion engulfed him. Before we could say Snidely Whiplash, he rearranged his weekend work schedule, packed his bag and with little brother in tow, was off wearing the latest and greatest surrogate father fishing hat known to man.

And I, the unsupportive-insane-scolding-laughing-now tearing-mom am left knowing...

They are who they are in spite of us.
Which is comforting to all of us.
Thank you, Jesus.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Slow It Down?

Life is busy. For everyone I know, regardless of what career they have, married or not, children or not or even if the responsibility of a furry little critter defines you, life is busy.

Last month I turned the big 4 0 and literally celebrated all month long. It was lovely and I did enjoy most every minute of it however, at a small cost, or perhaps a little bit bigger than small cost. You see, I am one who always enjoys a good social gathering but I recognize that not all do...or maybe just not quite as much as I do. One being my husband, and while I'm holding the honesty card, actually most of my kids as well. While I knew last month was going to be busy, I gave Sam the heads up only to find he was already far more prepared than I could have guessed. He actually entered all the extracurricular engagements on his phone calendar....keeping a record of all the "fluff" if you will. Initially, I was a little disturbed by his effort (so out of character and I could smell an ulterior motive) but I would have to be a blind mouse to not see his perspective. And when it was all said and done, memories were full but we were WIPED OUT. Which brought us to the, "what is really necessary in life" conversation.

He won.
It was unanimous.

Down Time.

Husband, kids, even the cat and dog demonstration of course. Hmmm, let's see what that might look like...
So, on this Mother's Day, this is where you will find me. At home. Lounging with the family - minus Collin (blasted his father for stealing him from me this day.) Excuse the vent, I'm good now. Or maybe a little brunch with a tall mimosa to take the edge off is in order? Kidding.

See Jen run.
Sit Jen, sit.
Stay Jen, stay.
Good Jen.

Enjoy your minutes today, wherever you are. For I am learning that minutes are from where all memories actually begin. Imagine that?

“I think the world today is upside down. Everybody seems to be in such a terrible rush, anxious for greater development and greater riches and so on. There is much suffering because there is so very little love in homes and in family life. We have no time for our children, we have no time for each other; there is no time to enjoy each other. In the home begins the disruption of the peace of the world.” Mother Teresa

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Birthday Workout

Hike across green Ireland;
Bike the USA;
Backpack through New Zealand,
But don’t call it a day…

Do yoga in lovely Paris;
Jump rope in Katmandu;
Avoid Italian pasta,
(Well, maybe taste, but don’t you chew!)

Climb atop Mt. Everest;
Do aerobics on China’s Wall;
Lift weights on Mexican Beaches;
And honey, that’s not all…

Shake your booty with native dances
In Fiji and Bora Bora;
Move your body and exercise
Like you’ve never done befora.

Okay; that’s good; you’re finished;
Now you can take a break;
You’ve finally burned enough calories
To have your birthday cake!

By Joanna Fuchs

Happy Birthday to my amazing love, friend and husband.
With our history, I can't imagine what is in store for the next year...
but as long as we're together, I'm game.
I love you, Mr. Brown!!! XOXO

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Little Ditty

featuring three little cousins, Anders, Ryan and Ella. Hard to believe they are so big now and two will be graduating from kindergarten this year.

I actually ran across this today while looking for photos for my graduating 6th grader, which reminded me of my graduating senior. Gasp. Kind of makes you think of the book, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, huh? Including our kindergartener, that's three boys, all 6 years apart and all celebrating milestone graduations the same year.

Tear. Joy. Sniff. Laugh. Calltherealtorwe'removingtohawaii!!!

Sorry, got a little ahead of myself.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Raising 'em Right

According to Viktor Lowenfeld, our 6 year old is right on target artistically. By this age Lowenfeld suggests that during the schematic stage, "The child arrives at a 'schema,' a definite way of portraying an object, although it will be modified when he needs to portray something important. A blue line and sun at the top of the page and a green line at the bottom become symbolic representations of the sky and ground. Landscapes are compose carefully, giving the impression that removing any single form would throw off the balance of the whole picture."

Please note the single item sitting proudly in the middle of the piece of artwork.

On target once again, I might add.

This takes me back to my first grade year with favorite teacher ever, Mrs. Hammert. She was recognized for many things but probably most admired for her brilliance in pioneering the back up lesson plan. One day, when my mom ( a teacher herself) and Mrs. Hammert were exchanging war stories, she graciously shared her morsel of all teaching goodness. But behold, this is intelligent and quite scholarly...

"Class, please find your seats and take out your supply box. Now, shut up and color."

God bless teachers and God bless Texas.
I can only assume Dr. Lowenfeld would agree.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dream Rangers

The commercial here says it all. I'm off to buy some leather now.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Oh The Places You Will Go

Spring Break at our house started out fairly usual. Every year, Gib is graciously invited to snowboard it up in Angel Fire with his best bud's family. And every year he leaves full of anticipation and comes home a little braver. This year was no different in that regard, however this year the girls followed suit. They too were invited, but a bit futher west to the beautiful state of California. Sam's brother and his family hosted. And oh, what hosts they were!

They took them up, they took them down

They took them all around the town.

They took them in, they took them out

They took them without a single pout.

They took them near, they took them far

They took them to the bar...barge that is.

They let them play, they let them roam

And then they finally sent them home.

In the meantime, while Blake and Brayden practiced baseball for an upcoming tournament,

Collin, Ryan and I headed a different direction to the lake house. Invited once again by our wonderful friends, we actually ventured twice eventually dragging Pop and Gram with us, who preferred to relax behind the camera. ;)

Later in the week we met up with cousins at the Natatorium, and the next day at the park.

Cousins, cousins everywhere,
I see one, I see two,
I see another so very new!!!!

Yes, and during all the going, my sister and her hubby we're blessed with one who arrived.
Meet sweet Margaret Carolynn "Maggie"


By Saturday, Sam and I we're dreaming of our own getaway so we booked a last minute trip to Nevada, while my lovely sister-in-law offered to stay at our house with the bambinos. But, shhhh, Don't tell Ryan where we went, ok? He really doesn't like the idea of us ever having any fun without him so just between you and me, he thinks we went to Spank Camp - Sam's ingenious, fast-thinking creation. And just for the record, Spank Camp was GREAT! It was our first get away since...well, a long time. And although our pockets did leave a little lighter, three days of uninterrupted fun was worth their weight in gold.

Spank ya very much.