Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Santa hates me.

Despite heavy security (not really), a dog, and a friend who was staying at the house while we were gone, Santa somehow found a way into our home.

It made our 1:00 a.m. arrival on Sunday night...loud.

Each child received one gift from the man in red and Olivia somehow, apparently through some sort of Clause mind control, got just what she'd been asking for all year.

Her gift came in the form of a note...

Merry Christmas Olivia,
I have made arrangements for you to pick out a Ball Python from Petland when you return. (Snakes make the reindeer a little jumpy.) I hope you had a good time skiing in Colorado.

Two things. 1. Who cares about the reindeer, what about the Momma? 2. What about the 'nothing else living in our house that poops' rule?


So, now, friends, we need some help.

For the life of her, Olivia can't figure out what to name her newest snuggly-bug of a pet.

We'd love any suggestions you might have.

For the record, the other pets in our house are named after literary characters because it somehow takes away some of the crazy factor.

This one's a boy.

In preparation for next year, I'm planning on feeding the snake progressively larger mice dressed in Santa suits.

Lemonade from lemons, people, lemonade from lemons.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Headed Home.

Well, we had a terrific week in Colorado and are now wrapping up our trip with a lovely 16 hour car ride.

We're on the tail end of that venture right now and I'm thinking of all the things I'd rather do with 16 hours.

At this point, lots of things are coming to mind.

Like having my eyebrows waxed.

It would involve less bickering between my children because, come on, who likes a unibrow, and a lot less front seat quarterbacking. The small (and big) people in the back have constantly asked for drinks from the cooler next to me all day.

As the hours have worn on, however, they've gotten less and less confident with my ability to throw it successfully to the intended reciever.

Speaking of intended recievers, way to go Miles Austin and the 'boys!!

We listened to the whole game in the car. But, I digress.

While we're talking about drinks and road trips there are two schools of thought when it comes to that combo.

1. We're clearly on a mission to get there/home as quickly as possible, thereby beating our time from last year as well as the times of all the people we talked with who also made the same trip. Potty breaks are for suckas and dehydration can be corrected upon arrival. With an I.V. drip if necessary.

2. Time in he car is precious family time that should be savored. We stop at each state line billboard to take a family picture and potty breaks at random gas stations all across the U.S. are just part of the fun.

Trey happens to fall right in the middle, leaning a good bit toward #1. We can have all the drinks we want but don't dare say you need to use the restroom 30 minutes after a stop - That's just innefficiency and you're gonna be holding it a while.

Our favorite story is about a friend who would make road trips with her family and it never failed; just when her four very small children had fallen asleep, she'd have to go to the restroom.

Friends, desperate times call for desperate measures, and once, that woman, the epitome of feminity and good taste, put on a baby diaper and tee teed right in it while her husband drove along doin' 80. Her sacrifice thereby allowed her children to sleep and the trip to continue it's forward progress.

And the Mother of the Year award goes to...

Trey has never looked at her the same. Now, there's a little twinkle of awe and respect in his eye. And maybe a slight temptation to purchase a big pack of Huggies before our next trip.

I'm kidding.

Right, Trey?

How does your family fare in road trips. If you've got a good story, let me know. I'll be in the car another four hours or so.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Quick update on my impending death.

I wish I had more time to write but I'm actually spending the majority of my time trying not to be the first person to die on the Magic Carpet in Crested Butte. I am also trying to keep alive Dea and Darius-all three of us have never skied.

"Yes, Smarty." I told my incredulous seven year old neice. This was my first time skiing and that meant beginner lessons for all of us.

More to come. With video that promises to be very unpretty.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Off we go!

After looking over the last month's worth of posts on this blog, it would appear as though there was a strange vortex pulling me slowly off the face of the earth.

There is no such vortex - unless it's called December.
Between Christmas parties, ornament exchanges, and our 2nd annual Mercy Street Christmas Party and White Elephant Gift Exchange, I haven't had as much time as I'd have liked to write.
Oh, yeah, and the whole going out of town for Christmas thing. We, along with Trey's parents and sisters and their families are all heading out this weekend to Crested Butte - a name my kids can't see written down without immediately giggling, imagining what the town would be called without the letter E.

They're really delightful childen when they're asleep.

Someone that my brother in law works with has a house there and have been gracious enough to let us all come stay. All 23 of us - 15 of us being children.
The kids are over the moon and haven't complained once about making the trip in a big white van that doesn't have cup holders for everyone.
Dea and Darius are a little skeptical about the whole -11 degrees thing but will love seeing the snow. I'm totally gonna nail them with snowballs because it's just one of the many ways I show love.
As I write, most likely to myself because no one even reads this blog anymore due to what I'm calling "the Great Month of Lame", we're passing through Dalhart, TX where everyone still wears boots and cowboy hats with their Carhart coats. It reminds me of A&M back in the day and makes me laugh once again that I'm often the only one wearing cowboy boots in the hood. Except for Miss Hannah and my mother in law.
My kids just asked for the 235,452,357th time if we were still in Texas.
Yes. Yes we are.
I've also decided that if your town's "Welcome to..." sign also says "Clean Restrooms", you've lost the ability to look at your homestead objectively. Look, you've got a tumbleweed, cotton fields, and the ability to wear a cowboy hat everywhere you go and not look like you're trying too hard.
I love these small sleepy towns and if it wasn't for the whole 'call of God' thing, I'd move here in a minute.
As long as you had a Target.
More to come on what is sure to be an eventful trip.
Wishing you a restful first day of Christmas vacation.
All of you.
Tap. Tap. Tap.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Because what we all need now is another cookie recipe.

First of all, thank you for all of your prayers and sweet words for Wilber and his family.  It will be a long road and the Mercy Street folks are privileged to walk alongside them.

We have also been incredibly blessed by your response to our fundraising efforts.  A sincere thank you to all who have partnered with us in this ministry.

On another, somewhat vanilla note, this whole month has messed with my blogging mojo. 

Ok, no one really uses the word 'mojo' anymore.  See what I'm saying!

Trey decided we were spending "WAY TOO MUCH" money on our phone service so he switched to another provider whose name I will not mention on this blog.


Since then, our internet has not been faster than lightening like they promised but spotty at best and totally out more often than it should be for all the money...we're...saving.  Oh, wait...

On top of that, my computer has been acting like a spoiled child who's found herself on the naughty list and I got a new phone that I barely know how to place a call on, let alone type anything of length.

Oh, yeah, and it's Christmas which, I don't know about you, tends to get a little nutty around the Hill house.  Not only do all the holiday festivities begin, but basketball and exams don't stop, and I like myself some Christmas cookie making.

The whole thing has made me write terrible run-on sentences like the one above.

It's also made me try some new recipes and now, this is where I share with you.

I made these awesome cookies for our State Championship Six-Man Football Game last weekend where we drove to Moody (middle of no-where), Texas to freeze our tails off as the winds came sweeping off the plains.

And lose.

But the cookies were delightful so we had that going for us.

I don't have pictures but you can just trust me.  They looked good.  Real good.

Chocolate Chip Jillian Michaels Will Make Me Pay for These Cookies (totally made that one up.  If you have a better name for them, please share it with the rest of us.)

1 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup dark brown sugar (I used light because I'm a rebel)
2 eggs
2 cups flour (sifted)  (I didn't sift because, again, I'm a rebel.)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups rolled oats
2 3 1/2 ounce cans coconut
1 12 ounce package semi-sweet chocolate chips
about 3/4 cup chopped pecans

Cream butter, sugar.  Add eggs, flour salt and soda.  Add vanilla, oats, coconut, chocolate chips, and pecans.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Put on stretchy pants.

Monday, December 7, 2009

His hands and feet.

Last week was busy, busy with the pulling together of Mercy Street's luncheon.

It ended up being fabulous and full to the brim with friends who came to hear the story and support what we're doing.

We were incredibly blessed.

And stressed.

There are so many little details that go into an event like this one and thankfully, my mother-in-law is a 'many little details' type of gal.  She remembers everything - from who's responded and where they're sitting to exactly how many pieces of fried chicken the average person will eat.

It's a gift.

Right in the middle of the day on Wednesday, when we were running around tying up all the loose ends, one of our mentors walked through the doors in somewhat of a panic.

Alan has been a mentor for years now and is incredibly faithful to his student.  The relationship has been rocky, and difficult, and certainly not ideal.  Sometimes, it's akward.  Sometimes, they don't have anything to talk about.  Sometimes, all they talk about is homework.

Alan knows this because, over the course of the semester, Wilber has been asking him to come out to the house late at night to help him with his homework.

The child and his mother had moved in with her boyfriend and apparently, the student wanted Alan there with him late at night.

Wednesday afternoon, when Alan burst through the doors, he found himself again, entirely out of his comfort zone.

Wilber had called and asked Alan to come spend time with him once again because Tuesday night, Wilber's mother had been murdered by her boyfriend.

Alan was understandably unsure of how to comfort this young man in this heartbreaking time but what blessed me so much was the fact that he was there.   He didn't know all the answers and didn't even know what he was going to say to this young man.  He was nervous but he was there.  He had left work and come halfway across town in the middle of the morning to do what he had promised - to put feet on his commitment to be a caring Christian adult in the life of this child and walk with him until he graduated from high school.

Wilber wasn't calling because he wanted to go to a movie, or to dinner, or to Six Flags.  He didn't want to be entertained, he just wanted someone to sit with him, someone he could count on, who he's been able to count on in the past, while he dealt with the horror before him.

The Lord is so faithful to use us, in our weakness when we make ourselves available and that's what Alan did.  It's never what we bring to the table that gets us anywhere.  That stuff usually just ends up as baggage anyway, hindering us and tripping us up.  Instead, He prepares a table for us - a feast.  Then He clothes us, equips us, and even goes before us as He transforms us, amidst our weakness, into His hands and feet. 

I'm so thankful for the example Alan was to me last week.  It was a great reminder that, if we wait until we have all the answers, until it all works seamlessly and plays out well on paper, we'll miss the opportunity to do exactly what we've been called to do - to come when He calls and carry one another's burderns with them - sometimes, for them.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

If there's a point, I don't know it yet.

Oh my stinkin' goodness it's been a while since I posted!  It seems like just yesterday it was Thanksgiving and we were cooking and eating and watching the kids pelt each other in our first annual Thanksgiving Dodgeball Tournament.

Ok, it wasn't really a tournament because it can't be official unless all the children know the  5 "D"s of dodgeball.: dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge.  With some good, faithful instruction, we're hopeful we'll have them down pat by next year.

And thereby eliminating 95% of the tears which can put a damper in Thanksgiving festivities.

I spent the rest of our holiday week trying to locate my husband.  Contrary to his personality 364 days of the year, he loves him some Black Friday shopping and annually starts in the wee hours of the morning.  He doesn't necessarily buy anything, he just likes to go see who's out and what they're buying.  Then, he comes home at about 11 a.m., jacked up on Starbucks, and gives a 20 minute evaluation of the state of the economy based on how fast the door busters dissappeared. 

Happens the same way every year.

Our family is nothing if we're not into rediculous traditions.

On top of a shameful amount of turkey, we also consumed more Mexican food than should be allowed in a seven day period and then wrapped up our week with a family trip to the movies to see the Blind Side.  Dea and Darius are pretty fun to take to the movies, except they like make commentary throughout and Sadie kept shushing them.  Then, Graham spent the rest of the day asking why Daddy and I didn't kiss like Mr. and Mrs. Touey did in the movie. 

We did.  Four times.  See where that got me?

Today, we're setting up for Mercy Street's First Annual Luncheon which is scheduled for tomorrow.

It's snowing which is beautiful but we're praying stops and clears off since Snowflakes + Dallas usually equals a uniform shut-down of the city save the very carefull drive to the store to stock up on canned goods, generators, flashlights, and bottled water.

What we could really use is some sunshine and warmer temps. so people will come out in droves to hear me sing the Welcome. 

A cappella.

Or not.  Trey has promised to let me play with the microphone as much as I want after everyone leaves tomorrow afternoon.  Before then, it's off limits.

He said it's something about, "knowing your audience".