Thanks for stopping by! We were a family of three, until we added one more (cat, that is), making us a family of four. In 2012, we added four more...one husband, two girls, and a dog. We have a full plate as a party of eight!

Adoption, blended families, pets, school, running...it's all here. Pull up a chair and read a while. After you do, please leave a little comment love! It makes me happy...and y'all know...if Momma is happy, then everyone is happy...at least at our house!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Rainy Sunday

Coming back from a vacation is never fun.  Coming back from a vacation where there has been non-stop interaction with two cousins and your grandmother is even worse.  Add in a rainy Sunday on top of it all...just no good.  No good at all.

What's a girl to do after reading and playing with sticker books and watching the E.T. movie for the first time ever when Momma is busy getting suitcases unpacked, laundry washed, and cleaning up after all of Destructo Kitty's work while we were gone?

Put on your bathing suit, grab the "guys," and go out to play on the patio in the rain!





Until it starts to thunder and you have to go inside again.  Then you curl up with a good book once again.


Sunday Snapshot



Speaking of books...

I'm still doing the fundraiser for my sister-in-law and the North Texas Lyme Support Group on my Usborne Books and More site. (Be sure to click on Martha's name to support this fundraiser.)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

In My Hometown

We are happily home from being gone for a week.  Wish I had some pictures to share...Gloria spent four days at the beach with her grandmother and her cousins.  I, on the other hand, spent four days alone with my books and papers and pens so I could work on my thesis some more.  It's never going to end!

One evening, I decided to go get a pizza for dinner from a very specific pizza place.  And while I've noticed it over the years, I guess I noticed it more this time because I was alone...things have really changed down there.  My drive from one town to the next made that oh so obvious.

There were new neighborhoods where there used to be orange groves.
There was a school in what used to be a cow pasture.
The villa...well, it's still the villa with some fresh paint and some fancy brick medians.
Our old pizza hangout?  It's a personal injury law firm now.
And there's a tattoo parlor where a car dealership used to be.
The old movie theater is now a used car lot.
And the ABC store...is now a pawn shop.

I've always been able to get around where I needed to go, and could give directions based on landmarks. (I never learned many road names...just the really big ones!)
But all the landmarks have changed!
I don't think I could get anyone anywhere successfully any more!

Those are just a few things that stand out in my mind as I think about my time down there.  What should I expect though???  I've been gone for 22 years! (How's that for a reality check?!?)

I do love it down there.  It makes me yearn for those simpler days.  I wish Gloria could have that life I had "back then."  There are times I wish I was still living there.  I really like where I am now (most of the time).  It seems so much, I don't know, easier or more relaxed, down there.  I know it's probably not and it's just because when I am down there now it is because I am on vacation.  Here seems so fast paced and busy and frantic at times.  Not necessarily US per se.  Certainly we stay busy and enjoy ourselves.  I'm talking more about, the general feeling, the atmosphere here compared to there.

Guess I'm just missing it a little more tonight now that we are home again.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Lest You Think Summer Vacation is All Fun and Games...

 My dining room table...



And my dining room floor...


Still plugging away at the thesis.

I know what my "how I spent my summer" story will be when school starts again next month!  It won't be very long or very interesting.  In fact, it will be only one sentence long (but it will be a COMPLETE sentence, with appropriate capitalization and punctuation, good spelling and grammar, and focused on one specific topic--all things I try to teach my second graders.)

Are you ready for it?

I wrote my thesis.

Yep.  That's it.  No fun beach trips or amusement parks or camps for me.  It's just writing, writing, writing, and more writing.  Oh yeah, and some reading.  And did I mention writing?  Maybe a meltdown or two thrown in...just to keep things interesting.  But mostly...I wrote my thesis.

And now it's time to return my attention back to my thesis...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Are You Ready for Some Football?

***Warning:  These are iPhone pictures, so not terribly great.  Not that any of my pictures are...I need a better camera than my little point and shoot!  At least that's my story!  And I'm stickin' to it!***

In this case...not "American" football...it was a soccer game.

We're having days that are hotter than blue blazes and we headed off to a soccer game late this afternoon when it was still a toasty 97 degrees.  And the humidity...well, it was something fierce too.

Before heading to the game
We caught the end of the women's game.  Unfortunately, the Lady Eagles lost.  The girls are somewhere out in that group, joining the team for a post-game prayer.  It made Gloria's day that one of her coaches from last week's soccer camp (who is also a player on the team) recognized her and was talking to her after the prayer.  Thanks, Coach Stinky Feet!


Coming back to the stands.  (I'm so glad to finally see some confidence developing so that she will venture out to do something like this without me accompanying her!)
Like I said, it was extremely hot, so our cold water was more like room temperature water before we could drink it!




We can never go to a game without adding a bracelet (or two) to her collection!  And she got her friend started on them today!

We gave up at half-time of the men's game and headed for home, popsicles, and air conditioning.

But I think they enjoyed themselves, don't you?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Late Night Thesis Writing

Apparently I've been staying up too late working on my thesis.

Or so I've been told by a certain 8 year old who doesn't like waking up "around 1:00 or something" and realizing I'm still downstairs.

Honestly?  It's just easier to concentrate after she goes to bed.  No piano practice (she's teaching herself to play), no CDs playing, no one hour of television, no imaginary playing school, no endless trips to the freezer for ice cubes to suck on (WHY won't she just pour herself a glass of water?!?!?), no requests for snacks or lunch or swimming or "just something FUN please!"

It's just quiet...and I can concentrate...most of the time...until this happens



Why does she only want to sit in my lap when I'm trying to work?!?  It's really hard to write and/or type with a cat's head resting in the crook of my elbow!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I Can't Remember!

We watched the movie Akeelah and the Bee the other night.  (In fact, Gloria is watching it again for the third time right now before we toss it in the afternoon mail.)  What a great movie!

While I thought the message Miss G might take from the movie was something along the lines of "set your mind on a goal, work hard, and you will go to new and exciting places."  But I was wrong.  So wrong.

As I put her to bed Sunday night after the movie, she started crying sobbing.  It took a little bit of questioning from me to get to the bottom of what had her so upset.  It came from the movie, which surprised me.  What could have upset her like that from the movie?

She was thinking about how Akeelah's father died when Akeelah was six years old.  "So she can remember her father because you can remember things from when you were six years old."  But that led Gloria to think about how she doesn't remember her birthmother because "you can't remember things from when you were a little tiny baby and I want to remember her."

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Who's Watching Whom?

This week was like being stuck in the movie "Groundhog Day."

You know....where each day is just like the day before...

Get up
Take Gloria to soccer camp
Come home and work on thesis
Take a blog hopping break
Continue to work on thesis
Pick Gloria up from soccer camp
Go to the pool
Come home
Dinner, bath, and bed for Gloria
More blog hopping
More work on my thesis
Sleep
Repeat

So, not much opportunity for picture taking this week.  Although I did catch one pretty cool moment late one afternoon.  This is by far my favorite picture from recent weeks.  I came downstairs to discover this...



The deer has been eating out of the bird feeder every few days.  And it doesn't seem too concerned about the "audience" on the other side of the window.  Gloria has named it July.

It does leave me to wonder:  birds, squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, now a deer...what's next?!?


Sunday Snapshot

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Be a Part of Their Story

I became "Momma" to my sweet Gloria through adoption.  Adoption is a life-changing event.  I knew that.   What I didn't plan on or expect was the number of friends I would meet along the way.  Some of these friends are near by, some are far away, and some I have never met in person but we all share in prayer, support, encouragement, and inspiration, all while experiencing the challenges and the joys that life brings to each of us.  Karen is one of those far away friends.

Karen and her husband, Doug, have adopted two precious little girls from China.  Now they are pursuing their third adoption, this one being very different from either of the other two experiences.  You can read about Ai Liu on Karen's blog.

They have stepped out in faith to bring this little girl home where she can receive the love and care as well as the medical attention she so desperately needs and deserves.  And they are asking for help this time.

I hope you will read Karen's words and consider how you might "Be a Part of the Story" of bringing Ai Liu home.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Crazy Hair Tuesday at Soccer Camp

Oh, she's gonna' kill me for this!
But I had to share!
There were 12 ponytails on this head this morning!
Thank goodness she didn't want them braided!




The view from the top


From behind...


Ready for a H-O-T day at soccer camp...



What's For Dinner?

That was Gloria's first question (after her 25 minute non-stop retelling of her entire day at soccer camp) this afternoon.

So, like all good mommas, I answered her question with a question..."Well, what do you WANT for dinner tonight?"

Her response?
Get ready for this one.
I'm sure it's not typical.
But here it is anyway...

"SPINACH!  But not that frozen square kind.  Can you cook fresh spinach?  I like that so much better.  IT'S SO YUMMY!!!"

She just wanted me to steam some fresh spinach!
So I did--since I still had some in the fridge.
(There was also chicken, rice, and fresh peaches on our plates!)
And she was SO happy!

And I'm so happy she is a healthy eater and makes good choices!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Rest of Our Day

After being so rudely awakened (see previous post!), I really never went back to sleep.  That was bad news because I had stayed up until about 1:00 working on my thesis.  (6 more pages...yay!  Only about 4 hours of sleep...boo!)

So, we were out of the house pretty early to handle life.

Quick stop at the ATM, 
off to the farmer's market for flowers, tomatoes, and peaches,
 home to drop off our farmer's market purchases, 
grocery shopping, 
home to put groceries away and have lunch, 
a little house cleaning...

At which point, I was getting cranky.
A caffeinated brown soda would have helped immensely, but I gave those up about 6 weeks ago.
(I had one yesterday while dressed like a cow.  It was wonderful, but I'm not going back on the daily habit!)
Tired, cranky, and the beginning of a headache never make a good combination.
Add to that "What can I do, Momma?" with all my suggestions being turned down...
I could see things going down hill
F.A.S.T.

So I did what all good moms do--
I pitched a...

tent.
Right in the middle of the living room.
Yep.
Here it is...


And my child was thrilled.
Happy as a pig in mud.
(Are pigs in mud really happy???)

She spent the rest of the afternoon in there.

I had to knock on the tent if I needed her.  See her note?


She settled in with dolls and cats and pillows and books and flashlights and water bottles and...
actually, I'm not sure what else is in there.   Four hours is a lot of time to move things into a tent!




What's not to smile about?

She was going to sleep in there tonight, but worked herself into a panic about it since I was not planning to sleep
a.) IN the tent
or
b.) on the sofa.

Nope, I'm sleeping
c.) in my own bed.

I know...mean Momma...I know.
But I need good sleep.
And sofa sleep or floor sleep isn't good sleep.

Which happens to be upstairs.
And downstairs is scary by yourself.
Even if you are sound asleep, because "What if I wake up?"

So now she is upstairs in her bed and upset with her self for spoiling her own plans.


Sunday Snapshot

Bad Cat Strikes Again

Screamer doesn't seem to understand that it is summer time and we don't have to get up at 5 a.m. each morning.  He must be so worried that we will be late for school/work that he feels compelled to awaken us each morning by 5:30 at the latest.  His usual "M.O." is to pull something off of Gloria's bulletin board and then knock the candlestick off of the top of the bookshelf.

Actually, he's just reminding us that it's time to eat.  But all he gets instead of kitty kibble is a kitty time-out in the downstairs bathroom.

So this morning wasn't any different...

At 5:23, papers were pulled off the bulletin board and Destructo Kitty headed to the bookshelf.  He must have been feeling extra destructive this morning because he sent the candlestick all the way down the stairs where it crashed into a wooden chest.

The results...



Anyone want a cat???

Friday, July 8, 2011

Just Wondering...

Just wondering...
Anyone else feeling a bit nostalgic as the space shuttle begins the final voyage?   I remember the first one and now it's the last one.  Makes me sad.

Just wondering...
Who else dressed up like a cow today, in a costume created by an 8 year old, just so you could "eat mor chikin" for free?

Just wondering...
Why, when trying to clean up/straighten up/bring some semblance of order to my house, it seems that the mess gets bigger and worse before it gets better?

Just wondering...
How much higher my insurance premiums, deductibles, and co-pays can go?  Or maybe I don't want to know the answer to that one.  But geeeesh, enough is enough already!!

Just wondering...
Will my girly-girl enjoy soccer camp next week?  I sure hope so.  I hope she finds a friend to pal around with.  I know she's worried about not knowing anyone.  And while thinking about camp...

Just wondering...
How much writing will I get done next week during soccer camp?  Factor in a dental appointment one day and the hope to exercise each day along with travel time, and I'll have about 4 hours each day.  Better go to the library though, so I won't read blogs all day!

Just wondering...
Why are the people in the neighborhood behind the woods behind my house STILL shooting off firecrackers?!?  Don't they know it's the 8th of July now?!?

Anyone else wondering anything?

Or is it just me who has the wondering wandering mind tonight?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Letter to My Thesis

Dear Thesis,

We've had a rocky relationship for the past two years.
It's been off again, on again.
It's been start and stop.
You haunt me in my sleep.
You evade me when I'm awake.
I'm not sure how much more of this I can take.
The "blue box" for National Board Certification wasn't this bad!
Or maybe it was but I've blocked it all out...who knows?
At any rate, you're about to defeat me.
You reduced me to a sobbing heap on the sofa today.
That wasn't pretty, and my eyes are still puffy and sore.
(I'm glad Gloria was off playing at a friend's house today!)
I just don't know if I have any fight left in me.

It shouldn't be this hard...I love to write, and I'm passionate about my topic.
I just can't find the words.
The words I do find...they don't say what I want to say.
My thoughts are a jumbled mess.
My notes are in even worse shape.
We can't take a break from each other because the clock is ticking on the little bit of time we do have left.
There's part of me that wants to go ahead and throw in the towel.
Call it quits.
Let you win.
Not to mention regain the use of my dining room table again!

But then I think about the disappointment that would bring--to me and to others.
And I can't let that happen.
So, as Scarlett would say...tomorrow is another day.
I'll swim with Gloria, do a little grocery shopping, take a deep breath, and tackle you anew.
Be prepared, dear thesis, because I'm not going down without a fight.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Amazing, Marvelous, and Delectable!

Yep.
Amazing!
Marvelous!
Delectable!

Those were Gloria's words after we tried this...


for the first time this afternoon.

It's fairly new.  I think it opened while Gloria was at "Camp Maggie-Hada" last month and she had been wanting to try it.  I figured it would be a refreshing break on a sultry summer afternoon after she had so patiently waited for me to try on a bajillion multiple pairs of glasses frames in a quest for just the right ones for my new bifocals transition lenses.  Needless to say, she was most pleased with our final stop of the afternoon!  And then she was downright joyful when she saw that green circle in the lower left hand corner of this next picture.


Gluten free!
Suh-weet!!!


They had about a dozen choices of flavors and every topping you could think of from candies to nuts to fruit to different syrups and sauces.  I think she had some concoction of cake batter and cookies-n-cream topped with white chocolate and dark chocolate chips, strawberries, and chocolate syrup.  

I wasn't really in the mood for anything, so I just watched Gloria enjoy her treat.
And told her about an ice cream place we used to go to when I was growing up--
where I always got watermelon sherbet
every
single
time
I went in there.
It was 
*the best e-ver!*

So I decided to sample their watermelon frozen whatever it was. (It wasn't yogurt, and the sign said it was non-dairy, which is a good thing in my life.)

Let's just say that little tiny sample???
Turned into this...


It 
was 
yummy!

No toppings needed.

(Besides....what would have tasted good with watermelon???)

See those little fingers trying to steal my frozen watermelon delight?!?

They were NOT successful!

I think I see more trips to Sweet Frog in our future!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
And, because I haven't talked to them today (Gloria left them a message on their answering machine...)

HAPPY 43RD ANNIVERSARY, MOM AND DAD!!!  WE LOVE YOU BOTH!!  

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Bare Faced and Other Tuesday Tales

My days are all messed up.  Being out of school for the summer will do that to a teacher, ya' know!  I mean, I'm not writing the day and date on the board every morning, so I just can't keep 'em straight right now!

Tale One:
Gloria wanted to go swimming as soon as she got up this morning.  I had to hold her off until after 10:00 when the pool was open.  We were the only ones there this morning so she had the pool all to herself.  She enjoyed swimming and diving for her sinkies.  I enjoyed watching her and a phone conversation with my mom.

Tale Two:
We went to the library this afternoon.  My little bookworm reads constantly.  I mean *all* *the* *time*!!  And if she doesn't have anything new to read, she just rereads her old favorites.  She loves, loves, loves to read and really immerses herself into the stories.  The hard thing is finding books with age appropriate content that match her advanced reading level.  She's beyond what the majority of my students read, so I'm not familiar with everything out there, not to mention how much new reading material is out there.  Any suggestions for an 8 year old reader?

Tale Three:
Walking through Target after the library trip, Gloria looks at me and exclaims "Momma!  You didn't put on any make-up today!  Your face is totally bare!"  This was not exactly said in a quiet voice.  I agreed with her as the lady walking past us giggled.  And then "I like you better when you aren't bare faced, Momma."  Gee, thanks babe...

Tale Four:
She dragged out "Heigh Ho, Cherry-O" this afternoon for us to play.  Do you know how long that game takes to play?  And I lost.

Tale Five:
We have a deer that has decided to graze in our bird feeder.  It joins the several cardinal families, Bandit the raccoon, Jumpy Squirrel, and the oversized doves.  But why is the deer eating bird seed?  Anyway, this afternoon, it arrived again.  This was the first time Screamer saw the deer and boy was he agitated!  Tail bushed up and twitching and meowing the strangest meow I've ever heard from him!  Hannah was just on high alert.  I wish I could have taken a picture of Gloria and the two cats looking out the window at the deer.  Unfortunately, my camera battery was dead.  For several minutes, it was a staring contest between the deer on the outside and the other three on the inside.

Monday, July 4, 2011

A Quiet 4th

We had a quiet day at home today after a morning swim at the Y.  That's not a bad thing!  Really!

Because it was the Fourth of July, there were a few things we *had* to cook

Because they are *traditions* for us!

I'm not sure how they became traditions, but I wasn't going to disappoint my girl!

One of those traditions is  "bean quintet."  It's really just baked beans made with five different kinds of beans.  Gloria L-O-V-E-S it and requests it every year.  It is good, but it makes enough for 15-18 servings, according to the recipe.  Translated, that means we will eat it approximately 9 times.  That's a L-O-T of baked beans, no matter how yummy they are.  So, I typically freeze half of it (at least) so we can have them again for Labor Day.

Another tradition is a pan of jello decorated like a flag.  I think Gloria first did this with my mom when she was 2 years old.  And it has continued since then.  Each year, she insists that we make it and each year she does more and more of it herself.  This year, all I did was boil the water and then put the pan in the fridge.  The rest was done without my help.    And, each year, she gets more and more intentional in her decorating.  This year, she made sure there were precisely 50 blueberries (stars) and 13 stripes on top of her red jello base.

I love the concentration in this picture...



"Did you seriously just take my picture AGAIN?!?  MOM-MA!!"


Hope you and your family enjoyed your day.  What did you do to celebrate our country?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free
And the home of the brave!



(Another picture taken by Gloria...It was the right way until the wind blew right as she snapped the picture.)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Summer Flowers

While we were in Memphis recently, Gloria had a case of "I'm bored-itis."  So, in an attempt to keep that a bay during the last little bit of time before dinner I told her to take my camera, go outside, and take pictures of her favorite flowers in Maggie and Hada's yard.  

This evening, we sat down and played with them a little bit on iPhoto (after deleting the blurry ones or the ones that made me wonder what exactly she was trying to photograph).  She wanted me to share her favorite three with you.

So...here they are...







This last one was just us being silly.  It's not of flowers, and the contrast is pretty stark.  Someone *cough, cough*  needs to get out in the sunshine more.  Ahem....


And while I have you here for another moment, I wanted to an opportunity with you.  My sister-in-law is living with Lyme disease.  (You can read her story here.)  I am an independent consultant with Usborne Books and More.  Together, we are hosting an Usborne e-show right now and 100% of my commission will go towards helping with her medical bills as well as benefitting the North Texas Lyme Support Group that she helped get started.  Usborne has an outstanding collection of books for children of all ages, reading ability, and interests.  Won't you take a look and perhaps find a book or two for the children in your life?  You can click here to access her e-show on my Usborne site.  (You can also register to win the monthly drawing for $50 in free books!)


Sunday Snapshot

Friday, July 1, 2011

Silliness in Front of the Camera

I assure you these were NOT the faces I saw in front of me this morning when four vials of blood were being drawn from her arm.  But, she recovered quickly and returned to her happy little self.