Wednesday, March 31, 2010

They must not know about me.

About two months ago, my precious children and I went out after dark for a little family-bonding time.

We sang songs, spoke of things eternal, and caution-taped a friends house.

Because nothing says "I love you" more than waking up to a yard full of caution-tape. And toilet paper.

Can I get an Amen?

At the end of our lasting memory making, we had some caution tape left over, and we believe in wasting not but, instead being good stewards of our things.

So we went to a Mercy Street staff member's house and put a wee, tiny bit of caution-tape around their house.

Wee, tiny.

This morning, when I walked out my front door to meet Hannah for our morning walk, I found this.

A precious drawing my angelic children had done the night before.


I don't really know what it is, but I'm sure the whole mural they had done on the sidewalk was destined to become world renowned for it's color and creativity.

But right in the middle of it, in front of our door was this...


At first I thought it was another creation of my children but, upon closer inspection, I found that it was a giant pile of old dog poop with a homemade flag sticking out of it. "A little present from the Easter Bunny."

Well, there's no foolin' this girl. We don't even celebrate Easter with The Bunny. He doesn't bring us presents. And it's not even Easter yet. No. This was wrong. This was the dastardly work of someone evil, and most likely a boy because Heaven knows there's not a girl in this world who would dream up a prank like this one. Sickos.

What these pranksters don't know is that my washing machine totally broke yesterday and I'm on a tear. A tear with dirty cloths piling up by the minute and the ability to escalate a prank like none other.

They'd better keep their guard up 'cause after I head to the laundromat, and make a nice, well balanced dinner for my family, I'm gonna own them.

Somehow, I'm thinking that's not going to be the new slogan in the next Fantastic Four movie.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Eggstravaganza!!

*Let me begin by saying that Oliver Twist, our ball python, is going on week two of his Spring Break.  Not even in college did I get that kind of vacation.*

Saturday afternoon, several churches and ministries came together to host the Fifth Annual West Dallas Easter Eggstravaganza.

The Lord blessed us with beautiful weather and a great turnout.

To the gentleman in this picture who's bottom is predominately featured in this picture, I apologize.



And to the gentleman who, it would appear, is attempting to hand a snowcone to the other gentleman's bottom, I also apologize.  If photography were my gift, I wouldn't...well, no, I probably would.

Graham had no problem figuring out where to get the sugar hook-up.  The volunteers thought it was funny to give my child a monochromatic sugar rush. 

Thanks guys.  

I have your names.  I know where you live, and will drop Graham off on your doorstep until his upcoming blood-sugar-dropping-caused meltdown subsides.

Here's our balloon animal tying clown that had all the kids lined up three-deep. 
I have an irrational fear of balloons popping so I took this picture an ran as fast as I could toward this...


Hello Sunshine.  You're looking ravishing today.

After that light, healthy lunch, we headed over to the bounce houses and carnival games.

I watched in amazement as...

all of these amazing kids...

did all this fun stuff...

after eating a lunch like I did, and not one child vomited.  I totally would have.

There were also special booths for crafts and the telling of the Resurrection Story with plastic eggs.

Lots of time for Mentors and their kids to laugh,

and bond.


It was a great day for everyone and the Community of West Dallas was truly blessed.  In the end, Graham's high fructose corn syrup binge got the best of him and so I dropped him off with the volunteers who got me into this mess in the first place.

Not really.  Instead, we all headed home to kick our feet up and eat something healthy.  Like Hot Cheetos.  I did the whole Barry Sears Zone thing so I totally know about balancing.
These glasses are clearly too large for my face.

I look like a bug.


And my nose is crooked.

Otherwise, this is a sweet picture taken by Brett capturing Graham, me, and another volunteer's backside.

At least we're consistent?

How was you're weekend?


Friday, March 26, 2010

I'm over here today...

I'm over at the Dallas Morning News Briefing this today writing about discipline.  They wouldn't let me write about the war that wages in my heart each Spring between Milk Duds and Cadbury Eggs.  I'm slowly but surely wearing them down.


"Discipline is such a tough subject for parents, and it can be incredibly polarizing. It's an area where we all struggle.
Do I discipline for this? Should I have disciplined for that?
Have I ruined my firstborn and been too lax with my fourth?
Why, yes. Yes I have."
More...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Minor distraction.

I'm sorry, I don't have my Spring Break, Part 2 post up for you today.

I know you barely made it through your day.

We've had some, well, extenuating circumstances at the Hill house.

When we left for the week, we weren't the only ones who needed to get away for a little sun and folly.

I mean, Darius went to tour some colleges in the great state of Georgia with Mercy Street and had a great time.

This could be my favorite Darius picture of all time.


But that's not who I'm talking about.

I'm talking about...him.


Not her. Him.

The stripy, slimy thing she's holding.

Oliver.

Oliver Twist.

He's escaped.

In our house - apparently in search of the perfect Spring Break ever.

Or my pinky toes.

And even my Roomba can't find him.

Shiver.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring Break 2010 - Part 1

Last year, Trey took Tee and Olivia on a Texas History Tour over Spring Break while I stayed home and cleaned my floors.

This year, we switched things up a little and I took the three youngest to our favorite state's capitol where we also embarked on a learning experience and my new Roomba cleaned my floors. If you're skeptical, let me just remove all doubt. It is AWESOME and you could eat off the floors under my couch. It completes me.

When you take this many children,

to a very nice resort in Austin, to stay in your friend's in-law's house, you'll have moments of sweet bliss like this pic of our friend Carrie playing Pied Piper and skipping with all the kids back to the car after a long day of swimming, exploring, and putt-putt.
The children will eat an exorbitant amount of Smores and possibly annoy the hotel staff gentleman who drew the short straw and had to help the kids with the fire and molten hot marshmallows.

If Spring Break falls on St. Patrick's Day, and you're traveling, don't forget to pack green clothes for your children because, if you forget, they will decorate themselves with green marker, including, but not limited to, painting their nipples.

Immediately after taking this picture, this precious child jumped into the pool and swam the rest of the day in his blue jeans.

Just like all the other patrons of Barton Creek.

We were one motley crew - Country come to town.


And, if it wasn't for their unending cuteness, the fine people at the resort might not invite us back.

We had rounds and rounds of American Idol that we're sure were organized by our other friend Carey just so she could sing over and over again in front of her adoring fans, who were all under the age of 10.

I can't get my videos to upload but let me just say that she would make Rascal Flatts proud.

And Graham's rendition of Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror" earned him huge props with the gaggle of 6 year old girls watching.

With Dea working, and Darius on a trip with the Mercy Street High School group, Trey and Tee met us for the second half of Spring Break with some friends at their ranch near Houston.

Our time there involved eating, fishing, and eating. More on that, hopefully with pictures, tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Welcome to the family, Roomba.

Remember a couple of weeks ago when my dad came to visit and made me fix my phone and internet because, "Normal people do not handle all of their miscellaneous business on their iphone while sitting at stoplights."

Whatever.

He also made me solemnly swear to never try to groom my dog again.  I promise, if he could have found the clippers, he would have fixed her awful haircut himself.

I hid them.

And being Mr. Gadgety McGadgetson, he told me about his favorite household item and in his description, he said three words that will forever change my life.

"It vaccuums for you."

I know that's actually four but it's Spring Break and I'm living a little.

Through some serious investigation, I found that Trey and I had some unused points to an online store that carries all kinds of gadgets, and whizbangs, and such.

So, after some research, believing my dad's testimony, and finding a way to pay for the thing without actually spending any cash money, I ordered a Roomba.



It arrived on Friday and I'm going to admit, I was a little skeptical.  Our house gets really, really dirty.  I mean with the kids, and the dog, and the kids, and the sidewalk chalk, and the indoor skateboarding, I'm almost constantly sweeping my floors and they never really get totally clean.

People, it goes under my couches.  I don't even want to go under my couches.

It goes under the chairs, up over the rugs, and all around the dog kennel. It picks up everything and then, when it's done, it parks itself to recharge. IT PARKS ITSELF!!!

It completes me.

If it were a good kisser, Trey might have reason to feel threatened.

The first time I turned it on, I called Trey giggling like a schoolgirl.  After having used it for several days, I can't say it's saving me a ton of time because all I do is follow it around holding my coffee watching it clean for me.

Darius thinks I've totally lost it and Dea wants one to do his laundry.  I think Graham has thought about trying to ride it but has seen how much I love it and has thought twice.

Smart kid.

The little ones and I are headed to Austin with some friends for a couple of days and I'm having some seperation anxiety.  Would it be too much to ask that Trey read the entire owner's manual before he touches it?

I guess I'd better let him use it.  After all, if he ever finds out how many cool, fishing gadgets he could have gotten instead of a robotic vaccuum, I might be in trouble.

Monday, March 15, 2010

We're officially Spring Breaking.

Friday, we officially kicked off Spring Break in the Hill house.  Grandparents Day is always the final production put on by our school before we let out for a week of Springtime bliss and merriment.

After getting each child awoken (not a word), fed a healthy, well-balanced breakfast of Lucky Charms, in costume and at the event venue by 8:15, a week break is exactly what we need to recover.

Actually, looking around - like I can tend to do - I realize that some moms thrive, actually excell in such chaos.  Not only are their children on-time and in costume without forgetting one of the primary accessories like someone I know, but their hair is brushed, and they've each gone through one set of rehersals prior to going on-stage.  They also managed to get some protien into their children so they don't pass out.

I may have worried more about getting coffee into the Momma.

Once we get the children to their places, I finally sit down to relax and enjoy the show.  And then I realized I had to jump up and run to the front so I could capture each child on my camera to forever preserve the memories they were making. 

Tee was Cyclops in the story of Odyseus.  Here he is with Sadie who was a Renaissance Painter and clearly, a promising actress.

Just look at her expression of horror while still managing to hang onto her make-up brush she used instead of a paintbrush.

Graham was a Roman Gladiator and loved his part.  At one point they had to all fall down and he fell with such a thud, I was busy making sure he didn't hurt himself instead of taking a picture.

I could never be a war-time photographer.

Olivia's class recited a poem by Eugene Fields.  She did a great job but was not totally convincing as a boy since she wanted to wear pink flip-flops.  Bless her feminine self.


And here is Tee in full costume.  He did great and only grossed out two Explorers with his giant eye.


It was a full morning and we were happy to come home and officially start our break.  

Waiting for us on our porch was a giant package that has given me untold delight all weekend.  

More on that tomorrow.  Now, we're off to the Zoo - with the rest of Dallas.



Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The things we do for love.

As you can imagine, we've had a few 'special things for Mommy" come home to our house.

I've told your before about this one Olivia brought home a couple of years ago. 


It's been on display in our house for a long, long time now, and every time I try to move it into the filing cabinet, my heart stops me.

It's not really a filing cabinet.

It's a trash can. 

Just embracing the whole honesty is the best policy thing.

Do you think I should dust it?  Hmmm, that's a revolutionary thought.

Next on display, came this. 



Wow!  My camera really picks up the dust.  I must have it on a special setting that I clearly need to turn off.

Anyway, Graham created this abstract piece out of miscellaneous trash and junk.  

Not exactly what I imagined when we started recycling but, I went with it.  This masterpiece, too, has been on display for several years.

And now, last Saturday at Mercy Street's first ever garage sale, Graham bought me this for $.50.


See the two "L"'s?  According to Graham, they stand for DOUBLE LOVE and therefore I should wear it every day.

I've already had two friends look at me funny as say, "Hey dork, your name starts with M."  They're embracing the honesty thing, too.

When Graham sees that I'm wearing it, though, his whole face lights up and makes it all worth it.

Even the green ring around my neck.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Stalker

Part of living in a big city, or actually living for that matter, is the threat of someone developing an obsession with you and beginning to stalk you.  

Folks, I believe I have a stalker and, frankly, I'm getting a little scared. 

It all started last Spring when a "friend" dragged me at the crack of dawn out of my bed and into the torture chamber  called Bootcamp. 

I almost died. But I went the next week just to prove I ain't no sissy. I almost died again and, seeing how I'm not a cat, I decided I needed to be a little leas willy-Billy about how I spend those lives. 

I stopped going to bootcamp but the stalker, a.k.a. "fitness expert", just wouldn't leave me be. 

In the darkness of winter, I really believed I'd shaken her. Perhaps shed found another victim. But then, this morning, just as the trees began to bud with the promise of Spring, this came. 

"Hey bootcampers! The nice weather is back so were starting up Saturday Bootcamps again!!...Im giving everyone a couple weeks to mentally prepare." 

Do you hear her menacing tone?

"We will plan on having our first one back on Saturday March 20th at 7am."

Is that a threat?  Did you notice how she uses a sweet, encouraging tone to try and conceal her rage?

"Thanks to all and I hope to see you there in 2 weeks to get ready for swimsuit season!"

Great, now she's threatening my family with violence.   

What should I do?  Do I involve the authorities or will it provoke her even more?

She scares me. 

Ok, on a serious note that doesn't involve swimsuit season (shudder), the Pinkston Varsity Basketball team is going, for the first time ever, to Regional Playoffs tonight!  Darius isnon the team and we're ready to cheer them on to victory. 

He's made me promise not to bring my airhorn. Or my cheerleading uniform. 

Yeah, right, like I ever had one of those.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

And the winner is...

 My network is down today.
What?!?!
"You've got to be kidding!  No way could your Internet be down again!" you say.
Yes. It's true.
Shocker.
Anyway, I would have had this up much earlier but I've been trying to get it fixed. Manny at AT&T and I are new bff's.
Unfortunately, our relationship hangs by the thin thread of him being able to get me all hooked up by noon.
So, where I wanted to write a long post, building line by line in suspense before finally announcing he winner of the Mary Flo book in a grande finale type way, I'm typing this on my phone so it's gonna be short.
Let me just say, I heard her speak Monday night and it was encouraging and empowering to me as a mom who wants desperately to teach my kids about sex but isn't sure exactly how.
I asked if I could just send my kids to her house, or if I could give them her cell phone number. She said no.
She said we could do it.
I'm a mom on a mission.
In fact, the next morning, I used the word 'penis', 'vagina', and 'umbilical cord' three times each before breakfast.
I'm also an over-achiever.
Ok, here's my official random integer...
Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:
19
Timestamp: 2010-03-03 14:09:43 UTC
And so, in weird font that I can't change, the winner is...

tracy said...
Oh, how I need this. :)
FEBRUARY 27, 2010 8:48 PM
Tracy, congratulations!  Just email me and I'll ship it out to you.
But wait, there's more!
I feel like Bob Barker.
Mary Flo sent me this offer to extend to y'all!
just want to give the great people who read your blog the same discount that we do for people who come to our program. TheSimple Truths resource sells for $65.00 + shipping & Handling from the website. But we will give it to your readers for $50.
If they would like to order, they can either email info@justsayyes.org or they can call 972-437-0002 X13(Linda Rossi) and place their order.
Please ask them to reference your blog…and they will have Simple Truths in 2-3 business days!
See what I mean!  She's pretty great!  And you'll love what she has to say.  I really think every house needs a copy, or two if you have a penchant for losing things like we do.
Anyway!  Y'all have a great day!
Thanks for entering, and reading, and being incredibly encouraging.
Y'all rock.