Monday, August 30, 2010

Embracing the inevitable.

With the start of school comes the event that has been carried on generation after generation - the back-to-school haircut.

Back in the day, mom's put on their aprons, whipped out scissors and lollipops and, during commercial breaks for "Days of Our Lives" brought their boys' unruly locks into submission before the announcer could say, "Like sands through the hourglass..."

Ok, maybe not exactly that way but you for sure can hear that guys voice as you say that line over and over to yourself in your head. Creepy isn't it?

I know.

Tee was first.  No brainer.  He loves himself a buzz and momma can do it almost painlessly.  Unless, of course, other children are playing in the backyard and a soccer ball accidentally bumps me.

Sorry about the ear, buddy.  Thankfully, it's a mere flesh wound.


Over the summer we had agreed to let Graham's hair grow as long as he wanted with the understanding that come August, it was gone like my quickly fading summer tan from a bottle. He didn't really get that metaphor but agreed and enjoyed his summer in hair heaven.


And then came Saturday and Sports Clips.

He was a trooper and sat patiently as his summer fell to the ground in blond bunches.


He's got great eyes and I love getting to actually look into them now.

Finally, was Quincy.  If you were around this blog in it's infancy...which...for some reason, it still is, you read a lot about Quincy.  Here's the first post I ever wrote about him and he was a permanent fixture in our house until about two years ago.  His momma moved out of the community to the other side of town and now, we rarely saw him.

Last weekend, he kind-of just reappeared.  He came to our house, went to Mindy and Garrett's and then back again.  He rearranged furniture just like he used to, started redecorating, and cleared out the closet under our stairs so that he could have a room when he came back to visit - which, he announced, would now be just about every weekend.

Since school was about to start, Quincy definitely needed an edge-up so I took him to the barber down the street.


I'm sorry I don't have pictures from inside the barbershop where I sat with Quincy and Olivia and Sadie but, may I tell you, it was awesome.  After about five minutes, Olivia was trading Silly Bands with the barber's 5 year old son.  Silly Bands - the universal language of children - why didn't I think of those?

Quincy was bound and determined to get one of my very least favorite haircuts in the community but, once we walked in, I lost all footing since every man and boy waiting to get a cut, was sporting the look.

The haircut is called the Dougie.  From the front, it actually looks very nice.  Clean and tight without all the designs, etc.


It's the rear-view I just can't figure out.  They leave a patch at the bottom uncut and it is wildly popular and with that last phrase, I have officially become my mother.


There's even a dance.  It's called, surprisingly, the "Dougie" and goes something like this... um, yeah, nevermind.  I had never actually watched any of the videos before and the song is sorta, kinda, really inappropriate.

But this is the haircut.

There's so much skin showing on Quincy's head, it gave Graham the hives.



Friday, August 27, 2010

And it begins...

Along with most of you, we started school this week. Darius had his last, first day of school and, as a Senior, was quick to think he could get a pass on the whole "shirts tucked in, no saggin'" policy.  Not so fast, Cowboy.  The administration was on him like butter on a biscuit.  One more year, baby.  One more year.

We're so, so proud of him. 

You know what high school Seniors like?  They like someone following them into school on their last day with a camera.  They LOVE it.

Next, Dea started his Sophomore year of college and is an amazing student.  He works harder and is more disciplined than I ever was and we're so proud of him, too!


And, the final four...

Because our school likes to walk on the wild side, we started in the middle of the week instead of Monday because, well, we can.

The 6th grade classrooms that Tee and his cohorts will be occupying aren't quite finished so he actually got an extra three days and will officially start 6th grade on Monday. Even though, technically, he could have slept in Wednesday morning, we're just not that nice. All the kids were up at the crack of dawn rushing to get showered, dressed, breakfasted (not a word), and out the door by 7:15. Yeah, not so much. I was brushing Olivia's hair and doing my makeup on the way. It made driving a little difficult but it's not like I was texting or anything. Geesh.

That was a joke. Trey drove. Now, close out that feisty email you were about to send me.

Here's the crew before opening chapel.


Tee spent the day with a friend so I came home, for the first time in a long, long while, to an empty house.  Even though Sadie was in Kindergarten last year, she only went to school two days a week.  This year, she'll be gone all five.  I'm a little bit of a mess.  For eleven years, I've had kids at home.  I've been crazy busy with bottles, and diapers, and boogers but I've really felt that season change this week and it's been a little no es bueno.

This picture was from our Christmas card when Tee was about 18 months old.  Olivia wasn't even born and so she, Graham, and Sadie were all having a party in my tummy.  I'm sorry, that's just what they used to think before I told them how babies were made. 

Look at his stinkin' cheeks.  And his haircut.  Yum.


Anyway, we were driving on the other side of town a few days ago and stumbled upon this same park.  We used to play there almost every day between naps.  I'd call a friend, pack our lunch, and go.

Now, he's 11 and I made him get out of the car and take a picture in the same spot.  Buddy, you're killin' me. 

So, all that to say, Trey came home Wednesday to me in my empty house and I was a sobbing mess lost in my sappy drama.

"Do you remember the day we brought Sadie home from the hospital?  I can remember what the weather was like."

"Yeah, me too."

"Trey, that was six and a half years ago.  We have that long with Tee and he's gone.  Gone!"  More sobbing.  "Did I read enough books to Sadie?  Did I color with them on the floor as much as I could?  Should I have bought organic chicken?"  Full-on, ugly cry.

Frankly, I'm pretty sure Trey was hoping to take advantage of the empty house that I was now sobbing over, but he was selfless and offered to, instead, stay home and talk incessantly to me all day just like Sadie does.

"No, it's ok.  It just wouldn't be the same without the lisp."

Monday, August 23, 2010

Ask and you shall receive...

Ok, you asked for it, and I aim to please...the recipe for Hulk Juice from my friend Katy.

I don't have pictures of this one but it comes out bright, bright green resembling the color of a Margarita from a cheap Tex-Mex restaurant - only, without all the accompanying fun and laughter.

Hulk Juice
1 handful of fresh kale, rinsed and, well, that's it.  Just shove it in the blender.
1 handful of frozen peaches.  They're actually a very nice compliment to the kale - whatever that means.
lime juice because, as Katy says, it kinda cuts the grassy taste from the kale.  I'm hungry already.
agave nectar
ice
2 cups water

Ok, instead of the hard, back-breaking work it takes to squeeze fresh limes, I use this.  About 1 cup of this, one cup water.



Then, I skip the Agave nectar because, frankly, my kids are so sweet, they don't need any more sugar.

Right?  Riiiiiiiight.

My big boys love it (possibly a slight exaggeration but they'll drink it everyday).  Sometimes, I throw a handful of blueberries in because I'm crazy that way.  My little ones are pickier and would love only fruit but it is an excellent example of how they don't always get what they want - enter maniacal laughter.

Katy's second recipe, I tried yesterday.  I loved it - perhaps it was the cream.

Popeye Smoothie (Katy didn't give me a name so I made this lame one up)
1 handful fresh spinach
1 C strawberries
1 C orange juice
Splash of cream
ice

Let me know what y'all think!


In other news,  DISD's first day of school was today so Mercy Street, with the help of several other DFW church partners including Park Cities Presbyterian, Irving Bible, Believers Chapel, and Arlington Presbyterian, gathered Saturday to help get the buildings and classrooms ready.

Several of the schools were under construction all summer so there was lots to do.  We cleaned out lockers, swept hallways,


hung bulletin boards, number lines, organized classrooms, 

painted,

hung the solar system for science classrooms, and hugged and encouraged the administration.

I would have more pictures but my children hijacked my camera and took lots of shots that I couldn't identify.

Except for this one.  It's a skateboard.


We have been incredibly amazed at Mercy Street to see so many different churches come together and work alongside one another in an effort to bless a community by being the hands and feet of Christ.  

I was so thankful, I thought about giving everyone there a nice cold glass of Hulk Juice in appreciation.  Trey said no.  I think it's his way of protecting me from myself.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Meanwhile, back at the Ranch.

Last weekend, a friend invited me to spend the weekend with her and some other girls at her ranch.  After a long, sweaty week at Pine Cove, nothing sounded better than some girl-time around a pool with lots of yummy food.

And yoga.  I'm sorry, but at one point, these ladies - clearly experts in the art of body contortion - tried to show me one pose and I almost died.  Really.  Dead died with zero medical personnel present.  I'm still sore and it's Friday.  I think my skills sit more on the side of brownie eating.  I'm really good at that.

Unfortunately, the evening took a dark turn when a couple of the girls found these giant, clearly poisonous spiders.

Not really, I added the poisonous part for effect.  There are only two really poisonous spiders in Texas;

the brown recluse...


and the black widow.

 
Although large and fairly creepy, they are simply yellow garden spiders and harmless - unless you're a bug - then you're toast.

 That, friends, is your nature study lesson for today.  You're welcome.

In a state of delusion, Michelle thought she should catch it and take it home to her son also confirming that we never really take off our mom hats so we loaded up in the - whatever this thing is called - and headed off to apprehend the beast.

See how she's real close-like to the spider and I'm standing about 1000 feet away with my super-zoom lens?  Who's the smartest one now?

Actually, the smartest one was clearly Ginny Owens who joined us for the weekend but stayed behind in the air conditioning for this adventure.  It was a huge treat to meet her.  I've been a big fan of her music for years and loved getting to hear about the writing, composing, recording process.  She's incredibly humble, even after taking names in the "who can hold their breath underwater competition".  She's a rock star!

In the end, I came away with a couple of lessons learned from new friends.

1. A quality sound machine can put me into a near-coma and I'll sleep all day, even when it's not my house, if given the opportunity.  Tiffany asked me, after they woke me up at 10, if I just wanted to live there.  Yes.  Kinda.

2. Homemade bread tastes 1 billion times better than anything you can get in the store - getting your friend Jen to make it for you on a weekly basis, though, not so easy.

3. Yoga is not for the inflexible or faint of heart or mother of six who may or may not have enjoyed an afternoon Mojito.

4. You can't underestimate teenage inner-city boys.  The girls told me to make smoothies with kale (I'm sorry, what?), peaches, and lime juice for my kids and if I just called it Hulk Juice, everyone would drink it...the big boys love it and now ask for it every day.  Score one for vegetables.  And the Incredible Hulk.

Y'all have a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

F.O...whatever.

One of my favorite things about camp is F.O.B. or, Flat on Back.  It is a time every day where all the campers have to be flat on their backs in their bunks for an hour.

Have I ever mentioned how much I love to sleep?

I do.  A LOT.  And when I nap, it's serious.  I get under the covers and if I snored or drooled, I totally would during naptime.  I don't, but I would.

Unfortunately, campers (namely my children) weren't actually all down with the whole nap thing for the first few days of camp and they found various and creative ways to interrupt my QPT or quality pillow time.

One of the days, I actually recorded on video the nonsense so you could see what I had to deal with and feel sorry for me. 

Sadie had gotten all dressed for her next activity while she was supposed to be resting.  Then, she woke me up to ask if I liked her outfit.  I told her I thought she had a little too much white going on.

Apparently, that was a mistake because instead of going back on her bed to rest, she made up a dance.  And a song.  And performed it for me very loudly.  And longly.



Later, she tried to sell the water bottle she drank from for $1000, and I vowed to never mention another thing about her clothes.

Never, or five minutes - whichever comes first.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Mercy Street/Pine Cove Recap.

Well, we're back from another week with Mercy Street at Pine Cove Camp. It was an amazing time of growth and fun and challenges for all of us. We are always amazed at the patience of the counselors who are finishing out their term - probably ready to head back to school or home to a momma-cooked meal - and their delight in kids that sometimes don't give much back.


They love our kids. They pursue them and share their snacks and Christ with them and saturate them with love, honesty, sincerity, and joy.


We saw lots of kids meet Jesus, we saw repentance and restoration, we broke up some fights and ran a few lines on the basketball court and loved on 120 kids who rarely see a sky full of stars or a grasshopper as big as a baby's shoe.


And we sang - even me and my unfortunate voice.


"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."
 Matthew 5:14-16


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Pine Cove - bear free

One of the last mornings we spent in Colorado was going as smoothly as possible when my family is involved. The kids were playing a game and Sadie was coloring and wanted a big leaf from outside to draw. She walked out our front door, ran down the driveway an picked a leaf and then walked back in the house. As the door closed behind her, she said, "Somebody's been foolin' with our cooler! They made a big mess!" then she went to make herself another waffle. We walked outside to find this...




The cooler had been dumped over and the juice boxes ripped open. Then we saw these. For those of you who can't immediately identify all kinds of footprints, these are bear tracks.



Even Buddy, who never met a stranger, was a little freaked out. He could smell the bear and really didn't want to venture back outside for the rest of the morning.




The marks on the cooler - claw marks.




As freaky as it was that a bear had come up to our front door that morning while we all ate breakfast was, I knew the beast was somehow, instinctually, more afraid of me than I was of him. See.




He drank all those juice boxes but didn't touch my Diet Cokes. Smart bear. On another, more fun note, this week, Mercy Street has once again been blessed to bring 120 kids down to Pine Cove Outback for a week of summer camp. We've had a great time and are only 3 days in. We've done zip lines, blobs, played football, basketball, and pickle ball and the kids are having a blast. On the way down, one of the kids asked if there were bears. I quickly dismissed te notion with, "No, there aren't any bears in Texas!" Trey corrected me because he loves me and wants me to have all the facts. "There actually ARE bears in some part of Texas." Sometimes, I could do with a little less love. I just hope all the bears are as smart as our friend in Colorado. At camp, I get one Diet Coke a day. One. And if some bear messes with that, he's gonna rue the day.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

S.O.L.

Well, we're back from vacation and have hit the ground running.  Apparently, some institution called SCHOOL wants my children to return in just a couple of weeks and there are a myriad of things to get done.

I feel like Willy Wonka..."We have so much time, and so little to do!  Strike that, reverse it."

Anyway, we had a great time and loved being up in the mountains.  Everything is all majestic and beautiful and wildflowers like this one were everywhere.  Did you know, Crested Butte is the Wildflower Capital of the U.S.?  Me neither.  There ya have it.


But it wasn't all flowers and sunshine and I've got a little story for you.  

One day, we all, including the dog, traveled by very narrow road out to the beautiful Emerald Lake.  While Buddy was swimming in the frigid waters, Olivia, Tee, and I hiked up to get a handful of snow that was still on the ground.  

I thought about that snow today when it was 105 and I wish I could lay in it.
Anyway, on our way out, it started to rain.  Not a gentle rain like in storybooks but a torrential downpour accompanied by hail.  We pulled off just for a minute under some trees to try and get some shelter and prevent our windshield from breaking.

Well, slap us and call us city-folk, our car, I'm sorry, correct that, giant church VAN, got stuck in the mud.  Trey, Bunty, and Darius tried with all their might to get us unstuck but city-folk drive city vans and city vans don't have no 4-wheel drive.

Here's a picture of Darius winning Camper of the Day, standing outside with the men in the cold rain trying not to think about how cold he was.

Some nice people stopped to pull us out but apparently, they were city-folk too because they used a bike cable and it snapped in about two seconds.

They were kind enough, though, to take Trey back to the house where he got the 4-wheel drive Suburban of Studville and came back to rescue his family.

The entire time he was gone, Graham kept asking, "Are we gonna have to sleep out here, Momma?"

"No, son, you know your momma's not a camper."

Within the short time Trey was gone, the entire road had washed out.  Thankfully, the Suburban made it across and we slept in our cozy beds instead of on the van seats where the seatbelt buckles stick into your back.


The whole incident reminded me of a story a friend told me in college.  He and his little brother were out four-wheeling on their family's ranch.  They got stuck way up on a ridge-thingie and the little brother, connecting dots in his little brain and feeling finally wise in the ways of the world said with great confidence, "Well, I guess we're S.O.L.!" 

The older brother, shocked that his little bro might know this term said, "Buddy, do you even know what that means?!?"


"Yep.  Sure do.  Stuck on a Levee."

Yes, yes it does.