Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Regret consumes me.

A couple of months ago, I saw a notice on my friend's Facebook.

Again, a sentence I'm not proud to have written.

The notice was to all of her friends who had been married for at least 10 years.  I immediately took notice because Trey and I have been married for almost 15 years.  Fourteen of which have been pretty great.  Our first, not so much - I was a year out of college and maybe a little selfish. I'm just keepin' it real.  And understated.

Anyway, the post was looking for married couples who have little points of contention.  Not the big guns like affairs, divorce, etc. but the small stuff that, no matter how much we try, we all sweat a little.  It was for a t.v. show developed by Jerry Seinfeld.  Seriously, as soon as I read that, I knew it was going to be funny and determined that Trey and I were for sure going to apply.

A. He thinks my car is too messy (let the six children ride in his car everyday).

B. He doesn't like me touching him with my feet when we sleep.

C. He becomes frustrated when he finds all four cordless phones on one table - completely dead.


I totally entered us.  Laughing my head off at the prospect, I sent an email, a picture, and a sonnet I'd written about how much Jerry Seinfeld makes me laugh.

I made that last part up.

The next day, NBC called.  N.B.C called my house and asked for me, Melissa Hill of the hood Hill's.

"Yes, Melissa, we got your email and our producers will be in Texas in a week and would love to talk with you and your husband about being on our show."

Now came the uncomfortable part - the part where I sound like an idiot and say, "Yeah, well, um, I guess I'd better ask my husband first.  He doesn't exactly know I applied."


Guess how great Trey thought the idea was?  Not even half that much.  I think his exact words were, "No way, no how, never.  I'd get a pedicure before we'd go on a show like that."

When he threw out the whole, "I'd get a pedicure first", thing, I knew there was no arguing, convincing, cajoling.  That boy does not believe pedicures were meant for men and will go to his grave with un-pedified toes.

Honestly, it was one of the things I thought we could talk about on the show before millions of viewers.

Tonight, I saw a preview for the show.  It airs February 28th.

On the preview, a husband and wife were arguing because she kept the ashes of her dead first husband in their living room.  And his prosthetic leg in their closet.

Although it looked hilarious, Trey was possibly right.

I said possibly, not probably.

Can't wait to watch.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Now, back to our regularly scheduled posts...

I have been working without my own computer for about six weeks and am so excited to be reunited with the antiquated dinosaur that is my laptop.

A friend's son fixed it for me and what he lacked in speed, he far and away made up for in price.  It is incredibly humbling when a 16 year old child can debug, update, and clean electronics that I, in my mid-(late) thirties can barely turn on.  And with that last sentence, I have officially become my mother.  Insert sip of coffee with pink rollers in hair.

Anyway, it will be great to be able to write posts on something other than the ridiculously small keyboard on my phone and I may actually be able to visit ya'll's blogs with some sort of consistency.  And read the news.  I'm a little behind.

Speaking of news, the people of Haiti are still in need of help so if you haven't given, please do so through...

World Vision

Samaritan's Purse


Compassion International

Each of these organizations are doing amazing things to help the people who are suffering in Haiti.

Now, I've gotta run and catch up on my laundry.  Somehow, my computer being out of service didn't translate into more time to fold clothes.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Double D

Trey's grandfather passed away last Thursday and we attended his funeral Monday morning. At 98, he had lived an incredibly long life - full of stories we all remember him telling.

Like so many of us, he a slight bent toward over-reaction and I'm convinced, despite the fact that we were not blood, he passed it on to me.

Be it missed directions, traffic, or a glitch in the plans, he would exclaim, "Well, it's just a D&@N DISASTER!!"

The expression, 'Double D' for short, over the years has become somewhat of a family slogan.

Yesterday, I thought of Popo.

One of the errands Sadie and I had on our list was to get food for a few of the pets. Sustinance the likes of which only PetLand carries.

Sadie was giddy. At Petland, you can hold all of the animals. Sadie wanted to hold only two; the four foot long ball python and the ferret - otherwise known as the grossest animal alive.

The latter, mean and viscious as it was, bit my baby. BIT HER!!!

I'm gonna be really honest with you right now and tell you I was a tiny bit thankful. The ferret was, in one small bite, removed from her wish list for all eternity. Score.

In my haste to complete my purchases and get her the heck outta petland, I swiped my card but failed to carefully check my bag.

What I had asked for was 30 large crickets and two pinky-mice. Go ahead and say it, nasty in a plastic bag. I know.

What I got was just that - with a twist. Right before bed, I remembered the bag and told Tee he needed to feed his snake because the frozen pinky mice would probably be thawed and we all know you can't thaw and then refreeze something because it changes the flavor. Whatever.

Hmmm, frozen? Not so much.

I acidentally bought LIVE baby mice.

Insert Double D here.

Why the Double D, you ask? Tears people, tears. Lots of them.

After Trey, in his insensitivity fed one to Julius the snake, the task that fascinated my children when the mice were frozen suddenly became tantamount to murder when they saw those sweet, barely able walk, baby mice.

Through tears literally shooting horizontally from his eyes, Graham cried, "But the box says 'handle with love'. LOVE mom! KILLING THEM IS NOT LOVE, MOM!! NOT LOVE!!"

Oh, brother.

Despite the fact that I lied and told my children baby mice were ferocious and bit harder than ferrets, Tee was up literally half the night keeping the thing warm and fed. I know because he gave me hourly status reports.

This morning, they named him Alvin thereby guaranteeing that his impending death will be even a bigger Double D than it is already.

There are many lessons to be learned in this, I'm sure. The first of which is that sometimes the Double D is an overreaction and sometimes, it's merely stating the obvious.

Friday, January 15, 2010

I'm over at the Dallas Morning News Briefing today talking with others about race and how we teach our children about the subject.

Hope ya'll have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

If you can't beat Old Man Winter, immortalize him with Royal Icing

Sadie had a friend over to play today and we've decided to embrace our sissy Texas winters by making these... Melted Snowman Cookies.

The instructions are here.. . ..and they're perfect for five year olds who are, um, a little, uh, imprecise, 'cause, you know, they're melting. The only downside I found was that they don't actually qualify for lunch. Off to make something magically delicious. Or turkey sandwiches. Whichever comes first.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Our kids go to a pretty small school.  We've got roughly 300 kids and, because it's a Kindergarten through 12th grade campus, everyone knows each other and most days, it feels as much like a small community as it does a school.

About three years ago, one of the first grade teacher's boys, Carson, was diagnosed with cancer.  He was thirteen or fourteen at the time and, to our kids, bigger than life.

This morning, in the words of his precious and valliant mom, "He finished his battle with cancer and has gone home to rest."

All the kids have prayed for him for years but Graham has had an especially tender heart towards this child.  We haven't eaten a meal or said bedtime prayers without hearing his name come out of our youngest son.  He never personally met Carson but he noticed everything about him from the way he joked and laughed with his big ol' friends on the varsity football team, to how he spoke about Jesus and sports all mixed together when given the opportunity to address the students.  Every bit of the life that he saw sent a message to Graham.  Of all our kids, he will have the hardest time understanding his death.

Although I didn't know Carson well, I'm so thankful for his life; for the example he was in the midst of suffering, for teaching Graham and so many others his favorite verse and what it looks like to live it out.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever your go...
Joshua 1:9

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Things I'm not qualified to do #387.

Ok, so could ya'll be any more encouraging?  Seriously?  Reading through all of your comments was great and I so appreciate all you had to say.  Thank you.

A few of you asked about the Francis Chan book I've been reading.  It's called The Forgotten God and it's great.  A study on the Holy Spirit.  Highly recommend it.  Next on my list is The Hole in the Gospel.  And after that, I'm open to suggestions.  What have ya'll read lately that you've loved, been encouraged by, been exhorted by?  Please share.

And finally, Olivia's snake has a name.  It took some time for her to decide but, in the end, she wrote them down on a piece of paper and chose the one that the snake slithered over first.  I only wish I was kidding.

Thanks Big Mama for the suggestion - Oliver Twist is the winner.

And because you suggested such a fabulous name; a literary character, fitting for the reptile, and not at all a pseudonym for Satan (which I thought were hilarious but Olivia didn't really see the humor in), you'll receive a special little buddy of your own.  If you get a package with holes in the box, open it quickly.

And for those of you wondering if we still have the other snake, the answer is 'unfortunately'.

If you haven't been keeping track because you actually have a life, let me give you our standing count of pets as of today.

Snake 1 - Oliver Twist
Snake 2 - Julius
Gerbil 1 - Cupcake (not a literary name, I know.  We lost a bet and brought them home pre-named)
Gerbil 2 - Marshmallow (see above note)
Bearded Dragon 1 - Augustine
Beta Fish - Moby
Canine 1 - Scout

Seriously, can you understand why I have moments of sadness?

And, since you brought up our dog, Scout, let's talk about another low point in my New Year so far.  We're calling it "the incident" and it happened the other day in my house with the dog and some clippers.

"The incident" was unfortunate.  So unfortunate that Trey has asked more than once if I would please, not ever do it again.  That says a lot because he barely even likes the dog (made that up, he loves her).  His issue is that she's a Labradoodle and there's always the possibility of being asked at some sort of major sporting event what kind of dog he has.  It's not the most manly sounding dog breed, I'll give him that.

I don't care what she's called, she barely sheds.  You with me?  Ok, but there is a tradeoff.  She needs some grooming.  Like brushing.

I barely can get my girls' hair brushed and frankly, I think dogs should be a little like a bar of soap.  Barring any sort of mud frolicking, essentially self-cleaning.  I don't groom her much so she mostly looks like this.

A dog so ugly she's cute.  Now, however, she is simply a dog who is just ugly.

Loved.  Adored.  Petted profusely and allowed to sleep on the couch or momma's bed, but ugly.

But her hair had gotten out of hand.  Like dreds and stuff.  She needed a haircut and I was just the girl to do it.  I mean, I certainly wasn't going to take her to some dog salon and, I've given a boy a buzz-cut, how hard could it be?  Not so hard if she sat totally still for 45 minutes and the guards worked properly on the clippers.

She didn't.  They didn't.

Finished product.

This picture doesn't even do it justice.  She looks much worse and knows it.  She's self-conscious and stuff now and she wouldn't even let me do her face or her legs so I can't let her go out front because the kids will run from her because she looks like she has the mange.

But that's not even the worst of it!  I now have to take her into a groomer and have them fix it because she still has all these dreds and stuff hanging off of her body.  People will be shielding their children's eyes as we walk by so they don't see the horror that is now my dog.

Plus, the snooty dog hair dresser (you know the type) is gonna look at me like I'm some sort of IDIOT who thought they could do the job in their garage with a pair of clippers from Big Lots (for the record, a quality set of clippers cannot be purchased at Big Lots).  She'll probably even roll her eyes at me.

I totally deserve it.  It's why there are licenses for such things.

So, wish me luck tomorrow...I'll let you know how it goes.


Ok, I made a few calls to some people who know things.  Fixing Scout's bad cut will run me upwards of $80 American dollars because of her size (and I'm assuming ugliness but they didn't say that).
Since I don't spend that much on my own haircuts and my childrens' combined, Scout will just have to let it grow out naturally.  Enduring the shame.
It's character building.
I bought her a bone.

Ya'll have a great weekend.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Year wrestling. And not the Nacho Libre variety.

I was all ready to sit down and write a funny post about total nothingness but I'm a little distracted by a sick feeling I have in the pit of my stomach.

Yesterday afternoon, after dropping off a friend of Olivia's, we drove by our old house so the kids could see where they were born.

Actually, they were born in a hospital.  I'm not one of those.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.  But I'm not.

We stopped in front of the house for just a minute.  I pointed out the windows that were their rooms, the giant oak tree in the front yard looked just the same, and we talked about long walks we would take all around the neighborhood in their stroller.

And then the sick feeling came and I'm having a hard time shaking it.

It was a sweet life with old houses and pretty trees, lots of neighbors who had kids our kids' ages and invited us over for playdates, and older couples who rocked in chairs on their front porch and waved and spoke as we walked by.

It was easy.  And safe.  And pleasant.

And I miss it.

I know all the things I'm supposed to know about our call to this neighborhood and 90% of the time, I'm there.  I feel it too.  I love it.  But there are times like now, when my flesh, the dark part of my heart that long for ease and comfort and pretty things, rears back against the gentle words of the Lord who bid us to come and follow Him - wherever that might be.

Last night, I read a passage in a book by Francis Chan.  It was about a couple, a mechanic and hairdresser, who, over their lifetime, had fostered 32 children, 16 of which they had adopted.  Chan praised them for their obedience to James when he exhorts us to care for the widows and the orphans.  But what encouraged me most about the story was their honesty about the trials of the ministry they had begun.  Sometimes, they felt the joy in the call and sometimes, in darker seasons, they were spurred forward only by sheer obedience.

Strangely, it was the most encouraging part of the story and I've thought about it all day.  Like so many passages in the Bible, their obedience to the Lord trumped everything.  They trusted Him most because they knew Him to be trustworthy.

This is a heck of a way to start the New Year, I know.  But I'm thinking it could be a good thing.  I'm praying that, through this season, I will know the Lord more and rest in the fact that he alone is the Author and Perfecter of my faith.

And there's not a pretty neighborhood in the world that can top Him.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Colorado Recap.

So I'm sitting here trying to write a recap of our Christmas Ski trip but can't because by husband keeps sending me snarky emails from some new app. he's found on his iPhone while watching the Fiesta Bowl.

Obviously, I can't not reply to him (let's check the use of that double negative together, shall we?) and the whole thing is messing with my snarky post writing concentration.

Actually, now, another child has interrupted him saying he's "itchy" so I should have a minute while he tends to the ailments that only plague our off-spring at bedtime.

Crested Butte with Trey's whole family was fabulous, and cold, and cozy, and hilarious, all rolled into one.

Look at these icicles!  They were like five feet long!

The whole family arrived and the first morning, my kids bundled up and headed out to play in the snow.  We could see them sledding up and down the hill and they looked like a Norman Rockwell painting in the pristine snow against the backdrop of the majestic Rocky Mountains.

Minutes later, it got progressively less idyllic when Sadie came running in the house screaming, fingers completely white with cold.  Her glove had come off midway up the hill and she was "fsruggling" to get back up without her gloves on.

Frostbite, Day One.

I have pictures of the giant blisters that accompanied us the rest of the visit but, for those in the audience with weak stomaches, I'll spare you the visuals.

Because we hadn't skiied either 1. ever or 2. in such a long time we couldn't remember, Dea, Darius, and I took us some lessons.

Darius and I loved it; Dea, not so much.  Now that boy can dance and play some basketball but ski, he could not.  He for sure got an A for effort, until, with about an hour to go in our day-long lesson, he sat down and said, "Coach, me and these skiis are just not gettin' along."

Darius and I were so proud of ourselves for making it up the Magic Carpet and back down until we caught a glimpse of Sadie and the other small children zooming down the hill like fearless maniacs.  It's their low center of gravity, right?

We definitely got the hang of it and had a great time.

All the cousins loved being together and were so much fun to watch.

This was our newest nephew, Eyasu's, first Christmas and we laughed as he opened his gift and squealed with his precious accent, "OH, MY GOODNESS!  OH, MY GOODNESS!"  He was a hoot and we were so blessed to be able to share it with him.

One night, as we were driving home from dinner, our big ol' van that we drove up got stuck on one of the hills going to the house.  As we began sliding backward down the hill, Darius began yelling from the backseat like a little girl, "I'm gonna die!  That's twice today that I've almost died!  Twice!"

It may not have been his proudest moment, but it's one he'll definitely remember.

And so will we.  :)

Happy New Year!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year!

We're ringing in the 2010 at a friend's ranch - having the time of our
lives gettin' muddy and hunting hogs.

I'm over here today...
... givin' my two cents on parenting

May you know the love and grace of the Lord more this year than last.