Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The acorn does indeed fall close to the tree.

Remember when I made this brilliant move that only someone totally socially inept could make?

Let me let that sink in for a minute...

This morning Sadie was accompanying me to the doctor and was especially chatty. We got onto the elevator and another woman was already standing inside.
Now, to her credit, Sadie whispered. Her four year old whisper, however, is just exactly like her loud, clear, full voice maybe just a little more breathy.

"Mommy, look! That lady is here so the doctor can help her get her baby out of her big belly."

She wasn't even close to being pregnant. Not.even.close.

Now people, what in the world am I supposed to do with that? We had several more floors to go and I was way out of my league. It's a total lose-lose!

If I say with a furrowed brow, "Sadie, baby, you don't say things like that." She'll just ask 'why' and 'what did I say.' and I'll have some really uncomfortable 'splainin' to do in front of witnesses.

If I say, "Baby, not so loud." Then, I'm teaching her, and more importantly, it looks to a total stranger that I'm teaching her, it's ok to think it but just not to say it.

If I respond in an attempt to clarify, oh, I can't even begin to go there.

Instead, I chose to take the road cowards take. I pretended I could not hear my daughter (even though they probably heard her in Tokyo) and got off the elevator a floor early and took the stairs.

Yes, I did.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

These Boys...


These boys...

...have seen their parents smoke crack.
...have met innumerable drug dealers.
...could point out every drug house in West Dallas.
...have been threatened by a dealer to cover their mom's debt.
...have slept with their money so no one would take it.
...have lived in their car.
...have lived in a homeless shelter.
...have lived in a motel.
...have lived with three different people in the last three years.
...have pumped gas for tips before school so they would have a place to stay that night.
...have seen two siblings go to jail.
...have helped their daddy collect cans.
...have been evicted and lost everything they had.
...have lost an aunt to AIDS.
...have taken the bus to school at 6:30 a.m. so they wouldn't be tardy.
...have been praised by their teachers and coaches.
...brought home their report cards yesterday; 11 A's, 3 B's, 1 C.
...are making plans for college.
...are breaking the cycle of poverty, despair, hopelessness.
...have a Saviour who restores the years the locust have eaten.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sharing is Caring

For the past couple of holidays, Trey has given me a gift certificate to Nordstrom Spa. Doesn't he sound like the most incredibly thoughtful husband in the world?
He is, kind of.
He sometimes just needs a little help and I've learned over the years how to...well...give him the help he needs. Hence the term Helpmeet.
Since he rarely reads my blog, I'm going to let you in on a little somethin' somethin' I've discovered.
My friend, Jennifer Peterson (there's another one for Google, Jen) will ask me what I'd like for, say our anniversary. We'll discuss something both easy to obtain and within the budget and then later, she'll call or email Trey with something like this..."Hey, Trey, it's Jennifer. I know your anniversary is coming up and you probably have something totally in mind for Melissa (which, God love the man, he doesn't) but in case you don't, I think she'd love a gift certificate to Nordstrom's spa. It would be perfect and a fun surprise."
Our anniversary arrives and voila!, gift certificate from Nordstrom's spa.
Who knew!
He loves that he doesn't have to try and tap into my womanly brain and I love that he took the advice and, to his credit, had to plan a little ahead in order to purchase the thing instead of just sending me a Blue Mountain virtual card from his laptop the morning of said anniversary.
Sound manipulative? Maybe a tiny bit but we're so stinkin' busy right now I'd love it if one of his friends called me and gave me ideas about what to get him. His birthday is coming up and it makes me sweat thinking about giving him anything besides a Bass Pro Shop gift certificate.
Anywho, Saturday afternoon, with the help of Nanny and Hannah watching the kiddos, I took that overwhelmed, tired, stressed hunk of a man with me to Nordstrom's Spa and shared my gift certificates. We each got a massage (my very first ever) and had the best time. Oh my word it was great and I can see how they could become addicting. We had the whole afternoon together and it was so refreshing to relax and be still, even for just a little while.
Thank you Lord, for loving our marriage immeasurably more than we do and giving us the opportunity to reconnect...with an herbal foot soak to boot.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Like slipping into a warm bath.

1. I had to log the boys off of Urban Chat to get on my blog. That's something I certainly wasn't having to deal with 5 months ago.

2. On the other side of the planet, there is a magazine called Luxe. It is "Texas' largest design + architecture magazine" and Briggs Freeman does a little insert on different people in Texas. They have graciously decided to feature my husband because they think he's about 1/2 as great as I do. So...last night they came into our chaotic home to both photograph our family and be used by the Lord as a mighty sanctifying tool in my life. They were obviously not here to photograph our home since each and every piece of furniture has been chewed on by dogs or is sticky from who knows what and I have a seriously horrendous yellow couch.

The very first thing I told Ray, the photographer, was that the upstairs was quarantined and that it would be a swift and violent death if he went upstairs and even worse if he took pictures. Downstairs was spotless but I could not for the life of me get my bed made yesterday. Ok, wait, let me rephrase that. Our downstairs was spotless until Fern decided to dig under the fence and roll in mud and then walk through the house about five minutes before the photographer arrived. Thanks, Fern.

It was supposed to be really natural kind of day-in-the-life stuff but I decided I should step out of the usual hot dogs and macaroni and cheese and find something else to cook. Oh, I kid. I've tried more recipes in the last five months than I have in my entire life - from broiled salmon to neck bones. The neck bones got rave reviews; the salmon was loved by 1/2 my family. I bet you can guess which 1/2. Even though I must say I've gotten pretty good at frying chicken, that was out because of the incredible mess and there is just something about raw chicken that I'm pretty sure doesn't translate well into print.

We had a house-full and it really was fun although not exactly like slipping into a warm bath. The kids were total hams for the camera and I'm excited to see how the pictures come out. I asked Ray if he could make Sadie's hair look like I had brushed it at least once in her lifetime and if my windows had enough dirt on them for his back-lighting. He responded that he wasn't looking for perfect hair, just personality and he could Photoshop more dirt in if he needed it.

He might be my new best friend.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Obviously not my P.R. team.

We were at the Galleria the other day and my little lambs were watching some infomercial on a skincare line at a kiosk in the middle of the aisle.

"Mom, you should totally use this for all the bumps on your face."
"Do I have bumps on my face?"
In unison which is a feat in itself. "YEA! TONS of them. You really should look in the mirror."

My insecurity totally took over and I caved and bought the stuff. Now, they have proceeded to tell everyone they see that "My mom is using stuff to get rid of all the bumps on her face. See, those bumps." Pointing.

"nice to meet you, too."

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Long time. No see.

I'm sitting here in my noisy kitchen having myself a little slice of blog funk with a side of overwhelmed.
My blog-block is certainly not from a shortage of material. I was telling my friend Hannah the other day that I literally could write about something every day but just haven't had the time.
For example,
Baseball season started and three of my little ones are playing. We love baseball in West Dallas and it brings out the community like nothing else.
It doesn't get much cuter than this...

Why the long face, Tee? Is it because you're on the same team as Olivia who takes baseball a little less seriously than you? Or, maybe it was the fact that she did pirouettes on the pitcher's mound.

We've also had to have a lesson in fashion: White baseball pants are somewhat see-through so Hello Kitty big girl's may not be the best choice.

...or this...
Cornpop hurt his knee and Steven was comforting him. Yes, Cornpop is his name.


...or this little cutie making sure his mom was watching.

...or this great-looking team. For sure a force to be reckoned with; especially the one on the far right with his cap pulled down so far his ears stick out.


...or this...Aaaack! What is that?!?


That would be Scout after she got loose and rolled in raw sewage.

Except for that little episode, we've had a great, albeit undocumented, week and I'll try my hardest to get back in the swing.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Doormat?

I know we are called to be sacrificial in our living, in our relationships, and in our service.
I definitely struggle with this call often but, lately, I've felt a little taken advantage of.

We love Fern but seriously.

"Come on Fern, get down."
"DOWN!"


"NOW FERN! DOWN!"


Nothing. Nada. Zip.

We took her in off the street, fed her, pet her, bathed her, loved her, and this is the thanks we get? Is this what it means to live sacrificially, or have I simply become a doormat?
I'm a little afraid to know the answer.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Happy Happy Joy Joy!


Today is Trey and my...um...uh...hold on...let me..2008-1995=13.
Ok.
Today is Trey and my 13th wedding anniversary!
Yippee!
I really can't believe it's been so long and I really do love him more today than I did the day we said "I do".
He has challenged my convictions, strengthened my walk with the Lord, loved me when I was unlovable (which is a lot of the time), tolerated my, shall we call them, idiosyncrasies, encouraged me as a mother and friend, and given me the greatest children ever, most days.
I really am so thankful for the man he is and look forward to growing old together-as long as he doesn't get crotchety and make me clean the fish.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Nebraska

I had a friend named Ross King in college who is an amazing singer/songwriter. He wrote a song called "When the Fields were on Fire" about the burning of the wheat fields in Kansas. I loved it because it reminded me of Nebraska, where I was born and where I spent every summer with my grandparents. The older I got, the less I appreciated the simplicity of the small town that now holds so many memories for me. There are times, now, I'd give my right arm to raise a family in a town just like it. Homegrown strawberries, potatoes, and tomatoes. Fireflies. Honeysuckle, and the best snow anywhere. Even the smell of cattle brings back memories for me.
This weekend we went to my cousin's wedding in Nebraska. I drove with my four littlest ones and met my brother's family and dad and stepmother there.
I loved being with my family and especially love having my kids spend time with their great-grandparents who are still so spry.

The kids are at such great ages that traveling was a delight and relatively easy. I did hear "how much longer" one million times but I figured it was payback for all the times I asked the same thing.

I packed for the kids and kind of forgot to pack my own things so I had to borrow their Sparkle Fun toothpaste all weekend. I've decided they get the whole leaving the cap off of the toothpaste thing from their father. I also learned that, unfortunately, Spongebob is my kids' true north right now. Pretty much everything can be related back to a Spongebob episode. It's kind of a 7 degrees of separation thing.

They kept telling me it was the best vacation ever because the hotel had an indoor pool, cousins, and Super Target right next door. What more could a kid ask for? I love it that Omaha is now their favorite destination spot. Tee cried when we left and I was so touched that he loves everyone as much as I do.

The wedding was beautiful and baby pictures of my cousin brought tears to his daddy's eyes. While the bride and groom danced, Tee and Olivia counted how many times they kissed. "12 TIMES! Ewww!"

Here's a picture of the whole gang. My brother is next to me and is not captain of a cruise ship. You can read about him here. He wore his uniform and looked so handsome my kids couldn't help but wipe boogers on him. Oh the love.

My only regret is not stopping by Carlos O'Kelley's Mexican Restaurant on the way home. I think they serve green beer with every Especial.
Maybe next time.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I've been reduced to this?

Being in full-time ministry and wanting a somewhat pretty home can sometimes, well alltimes, be like catfish and chocolate milk. They just don't go together. I have found myself once or twice in the predicament of wanting to beautify my ghetto abode just a little but without the budget to do so. It has made me do some things that give me...well, pause.

My friend, Jennifer Peterson, once found me a great old oil painting to go on my mantle. (She wants me to use her full name so when she Googles herself, at least something will come up. It's a little crazy but, for her, I'll overlook it. On that note, if you Google my name you get a porn star. It's not me. Promise.)
I put that beautiful and, might I add very affordable, painting on my mantle for a week or so to "think it over". Translation: 'if it stays long enough, Trey might forget about it and won't make me send it back'.

It's passive aggressive, I know, but now you see where I'm going with this.

One night, (it's about to get ugly so if you have a weak stomach, you might want to skip ahead) I cooked us up some bbq pork roast. Delicious. I need to get you the recipe. Unfortunately, when cooking a large slab of meat, there is inevitably some fat left over in the pan that I carefully cut away so that it never makes it into a sandwich. Trey bet me that I wouldn't eat some of the nasty pork fat.
When I asked him what he'd give me, he said "you can keep the painting".
"What?!? But it's been hanging there all week and you haven't said anything! I thought that meant I already could keep it?"
"Hey Mrs. McPassive Agressive! Um, that would be a no...unless, of course, you want to participate in a little Hill fear factor...or, are you scared?" Maniacal laugh.

Here's the painting.


I ate pork fat for home accessories.
Totally worth it.

This morning Jennifer Peterson (that's two mentions for Google), called me to say she saw a couch that had "pretty lines and great potential" out in front of someone's house for bulk trash. "You have to go get it."
So I drove by.
It was in Highland Park which is kind of like Beverly Hills but without all the poor people.
The couch was pretty but way to heavy for me to lift all by myself so I did what anyone else would do...
I drove around the corner and picked up five painters from a construction site who spoke only Spanish. I speak no Spanish except for Taco, Enchilada, Margarita and ayudame. I also showed them $10 and pointed. 'Nuff said. They hopped in my car with Sadie and I and loaded that couch without breaking a sweat.
At first it was looking like it wasn't going to fit and one of my helpers said, "Es trash?"
"Yes! Es trash!"
"If it no fit in your car, I take it my truck."
I cracked up and said, "You just want my couch!"
He laughed really hard because 1. I was right and 2. I was calling this roadside trash "mine".
Sadie and I rode all the way back to our house with the trash-couch sticking out of the back of my car and into the arms of my most-annoyed husband.
"It has potential, baby. Really."
"Of course it does, Melissa. Of course it does."

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Round Top

Whew! It's been a while since I posted and I'm having myself a little bloggity withdrawal.
Last weekend I went on our semi-annual Round Top Antique Show trip with my friends. Oh my was it fun! There are literally thousands of dealers in tents spread out over hundreds of acres of cow pasture and they are a'dealin'.
It's so fun to find just what you're looking for or just what a friend is looking for and then whittle down the price a little.
"Love this platter. Will you take $10 for it?"
By the end of the weekend I felt like asking if the guy in the drive-thru at McDonald's would take $.80 for the $1.00 double cheeseburger.
We had great fellowship and I think I speak for all of us when I say that kettle corn, iced tea, and laughing so hard tears come to your eyes is more refreshing than a day at the spa. Hands down.
Thank you, Lord for friends, laughter, and kettle corn and thank you for a husband who knows when I'm at the end of my rope and hangs onto the end of his one weekend longer to bless me the way he did. Amen.