Making Lemonade

Rick and I have decided that this is the summer of making lemonade out of lemons. We have tried to take a family vacation for two months. Each time we put a vacation on the calendar, a medical or financial crisis would creep up on us. With each failed attempt, we hoped for another opportunity.

Our last attempt to leave this pit of hell, a.k.a. Texas in July, was two weeks ago. When that trip had to be cancelled, we decided to throw in the beach towel. Instead of vacating, Rick took three days off for "staycating" last week.

The first two days were spent on some local attractions. Well, if you can call the doctor's office an attraction, then we spent two days at our local attractions. If not, then we spent one day in the doctor's office and one day at the movies.

Anywho, we saved the third day for the best. We drove to Chickasaw National Recreation Area near Sulphur, OK for our favorite swimming hole. One jump into that spring-fed body of water, and you forget that it is indeed sultry July. The water is about 65 degrees in the direct sunlight.

We left home after breakfast and arrived at Chickasaw two hours later. All 5 of us were carefree and giddy, until we saw this posted at our favorite spot:
Dad gum! You've GOT to be kiddin' me! What were we to do?

We threw caution to the wind and jumped in anyway.
I'm kidding. We jumped in before we saw the bacterial warning. Gulp.

Once we noticed the sign, we pulled everyone out of the water. There was much whaling and gnashing of teeth. Until Rick told me to suck it up for the kids.

I kid. Sort of.

Shortly thereafter, we paid the park ranger a visit. She told us that Chickasaw's bacterial standards are much higher than most national parks and that she swims in it herself. She said that we should be careful not to drink the water.

Well, thank you.

We spent the next few minutes weighing our options and decided that we would allow the boys to play in the shallow water with an extra warning of not putting the water in their mouths.

They were pleased. They spent the next hour pushing logs upstream and watching them roll with the current.

Rolling with the current...it's a fine art I'm trying to learn.

Daddy's help was requested, and he jumped right in. Actually, he fell in.
I love to make fun of my husband. He can dish it as well as he can take it.

Garret, oh my Garrett. This photo is of him in timeout. After hitting his brother out of frustration.
I would like to think that he was pondering the reason for his timeout. But past experiences tell me that he was sulking.

All in all, it was a fun day. We were able to cool off and enjoy our family time.

I wanted to share the next 3 photos with you for one reason. Because my boys need their glasses 100% of the time, it is rare to photograph their beautiful eyes without the glare of polycarbonate lenses. God blessed me with such handsome boys, and their sparkly eyes remind me of the joy in life.


Liam the rock collector

Jack has the longest eyelashes God ever created. I've tried countless times to catch his lashes with the camera, and I fail every time. Trust me when I say that you would covet his luscious lashes.

And my G.

After a day of fun, we headed home. A ride home always means Garrett will request The Beatles.

Liam will take a cat nap and then ride with a smile.
And Jack will sleep the entire trip.
I'm pretty sure God is trying to teach me a big lesson in making lemonade this summer. I am a blessed woman, and I need to remember that.

9 Years

You know you've been married 9 years if, when you try to get the babysitters to take a picture of you all "spiffed up", the kids must also join the photo opp.

Oh well. At least we did get a picture with both of us in it, and we got an evening away! Thanks, B&B!

July 25

You know you've been married for 9 years if:
1. The above photo is the only recent pic you have of yourselves.
2. You have umpteen million photos of your kids.
3. You find this only picture cute, in spite of the fact that you're not even pretending to be glamorous.
4. You post this photo, in spite of how much "trouble" you might be in once your husband sees it published on the world wide web.

But here we are being glamorous 9 years ago today:
Wow, what 9 years will do to you!

As I got up this morning, I looked at our wedding picture and thought, "What would I tell that girl?"

I would have to tell her that she would face some twists and turns on the road ahead of her. That life wasn't going to turn out as she imagines so perfectly in her mind in 1999. But to hold on, because that ride is well worth it.

Because that guy you're marrying will love you through thick and thin. And God will use this bumpy ride to make you both better people.

Rick, thank you for the past nine years. I can think of no one else I'd rather face life with. I love you!

LOOK! Another RECIPE!

Rick discovered an EASY peanut butter cookie recipe last week that I must share with y'all.

Notice how I didn't say that I discovered it? That would be because I was sick the night that Rick decided he MUST! HAVE! PEANUT! BUTTER! COOKIES! Liam and I both had a stomach bug last week. It was not the least bit fun, and it was only complicated by the smell of freshly baked PB cookies floating around the house.

Liam and I survived, and I can tell you that these PB cookies are a must for the healthy belly. (The not-so-healthy bellies might want to wait a day or two.)

Ingredients:
1 cup PB
1 cup sugar
1 egg

Directions:
Preheat oven 350 degrees. Mix the above ingredients. Roll the mixture into small balls. Roll the PB balls in a bowl of sugar. Bake 10-12 minutes. They will be soft when done. Do not overcook!

They are so yummy and easy to bake that you'll want to make them again the next day. Not that I would know personally or anything. Enjoy!

Friday Funny

Do you ever have those days where you can't find any humor in life? Last Friday was one of those days. I'll spare you the details, but it was not a very fun day.

When I can't find any humor in life, I can't quite post a Friday Funny, so I'm sorry for the two of you who missed my humor last week.

Life is looking a little brighter now and when this email came to me earlier this week, I knew I had to share with you. I hope you'll laugh at least half as much as I did.

From a kindergarten teacher:

My 5 year-old students are learning to read. Yesterday, one of them pointed to a picture in a zoo book and said, "Look at this! It's a frickin' elephant!"

I took a deep breath and asked, "What did you call it?"

"It's a frickin' elephant. It says so on the picture."

And so it does. 'African Elephant,' the text states.

Hooked on Phonics. Ain't it wonderful?

A Big Day

Liam(5) lost his first tooth today. He is so proud of himself, because he pulled it out without any help.
There's not much of a hole there, because his first two permanent teeth came in about 6 weeks ago. Yes, we like to do everything out of order around here.

He's an orthodontist's dream come true. I figure our dentist and orthodontist can go ahead and start building their beach homes.

I'm taking him to the dentist on Monday to have at least one more baby tooth pulled. His two permanent teeth are very big, and the baby teeth are taking too long to come out. His mouth is too crowded at this point, so we'll have to rely on some laughing gas and shots to get us through the next round. Maybe I'll ask for a dose of of the laughing gas, too.

That big space up top will have to be surgically fixed. There's some technical term for it, but I prefer "fixed". He'll get that done in another year or so. And then braces.

Like I said, our dental workers can have dream homes on us.

But Liam is our dream come true, too, so we'll dole out the cash. He's worth it!

Question for you: Where do you put your kids' baby teeth for posterity?

Kung Fu Fighting

Jack discovered a karate outfit in our dress up clothes the other day. Apparently a wig was also necessary.


video

Growing Boys

I found Garrett laying on the stairs the other day. At 3 1/2 and 38 inches long, he can stretch out comfortably.
Then, I had his brothers join him. Jack is an inch shorter than G, so he enjoyed this pose. Liam's day of fitting comfortably on the stairs are long gone at his 44 inches.
I do track their growth on a wall in our garage, but I thought these photos would be a fun visual for us in the future.

Do you have a fun way of tracking your kids' growth?

Ads at Work

We were watching a baseball game on tv the other night, when a Dairy Queen commercial caught Garrett's attention. He perked up and asked if we could go there for a hamburger.

I actually can't name a DQ in our area...the shock! But I happen to have hamburger ingredients in the house, so we told him we could have burgers this week.

Garrett woke up this morning and asked, "Can we have burgers THIS DAY?!" Sure, why not.

From 7am until noon, he asked the same question five times. I think he's a little excited about eating a burger.

At 1:30 this afternoon, he looked at me and said, "I'm ready to go to bed." My mouth dropped. This child NEVER asks for bed, nor does he ever admit to fatigue.

Because I was speechless, he asked for bed again. And he added, "We're going to have hamburgers after THIS nap. I'm ready for my nap." Aha!

I never thought I'd say this, because I don't really like burgers, but DQ, I LOVE YOU! I must meet their advertisers and kiss them.

LOOK! A RECIPE!

Have you noticed that I don't share recipes with you on this here blog? That would be for your benefit.

You're welcome.

Cooking and I don't go hand in hand naturally. I informed Rick of this fact on our first date. He still fell for me. What a sucker!

Our second date consisted of Mr. Wonderful cooking a tasty dinner for moi. I was sold at that point.

Within two months, we were engaged. And our prenuptials stated that Rick would handle the cooking, and I would take care of all cleaning.

No, we don't really have prenuptials. But we did make the cooking and cleaning very clear to one another. He didn't want to starve, and I didn't want to live in a pig sty.

And it worked for 7 years. About two years ago, however, I began feeling convicted that I should really be trying to pull my weight in the kitchen. Why should Rick work away from the home all day and come home to slaving away at the stove?

I began slowly by cooking easy meals, such as spaghetti. Over time, I've expanded my repertoire considerably.

But that doesn't mean that it's been an easy transition. There was a period of time where, I swear, the stove screamed at the horror of seeing me. There were numerous burned meals. Too many to count.

But the stove and I have made amends, and we get along much better now. I am a far cry from being an expert, and that is why I don't share recipes with you. I'm sure most of you are much more experienced in the kitchen, and I wouldn't want to insult your cooking intelligence.

Anyway, I mentioned yesterday that we enjoyed fried fish and homemade vanilla ice cream on the 4th. Yours truly tried her hand at making ice cream for the first time ever! (I did not, however, fry the fish. That would have been classified as overachieving.)

I was very nervous about making ice cream. I told my sister-in-law and brother-in-law that if it didn't turn out correctly, I would run to the store for some Blue Bell. Some of you are probably saying, "Oh, come on, it's so easy." Could you please humor me and pretend to be impressed?

For those looking for an oh-so-yummy homemade vanilla ice cream recipe, here it is. Drum roll please.

Ingredients for a 6 quart ice cream maker:
6 eggs
3 3/4 cup sugar
3 cans evaporated milk
1/2 gallon milk
6 3/4 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp salt
1 can Eagle brand milk

Directions:
Beat eggs until foamy. Add sugar gradually. Beat until stiff. Add remaining ingredients and mix extremely well. Pour into ice cream maker and freeze using rock salt and ice according to your ice cream maker's directions. (You didn't expect me to spell it all out for you, did you?)

We added chocolate syrup and sprinkles. The house was silent while 8 adults and 7 children devoured a large heap.

Let me know if you try it!

In case you're wondering, I still handle the cleaning, as well. The day I hand that over to Rick, you can go ahead and commit me to the asylum.

The 4th in a Nutshell

I don't know about you, but I need a long weekend to recover from my long weekend! I'm worn out from all the late nights. Because fireworks don't begin until 9:30, two hours after I turn into a pumpkin, the 4th of July really puts a kink into my beauty rest. And what's the 4th of July without fireworks on the 5th of July, too?

Instead of giving you a blow by blow of our long weekend, I'll sum it up by saying we spent some fun times with Rick's family on the 4th and 5th. Fun times included fried fish, homemade vanilla ice cream, swimming, fireworks, a baseball game and more fireworks.

If fattening food, fireworks and baseball aren't American, I don't know what is.

The cousins adore one another.

The 5 of us. We adore one another, too. Most days anyway.

I can't share a picture of the entire extended family. Our sister-in-law is due any day now to give birth to baby #2, and I don't think she'd appreciate my broadcasting her belly on the world wide web. Although, she looks so great that most of you fertile mamas out there would be jealous of her physique.

Anyway, that's our 4th in a nutshell. Hope you enjoyed your holiday weekend too.

Now, I'm off to catch up on some beauty sleep.

Friday Funny

I've given my old cell phone to the boys, and they've spent much of this week playing with it. At one point, Jack dropped it, which caused the battery to fall out. I offered to help him replace it, but he insisted he could do it. I watched him work at it for several minutes, and he actually did figure it out. He was extremely proud of his accomplishment and ran to tell his brothers the good news. "Boys, I'm amazing!"

Yes, you are, in more ways than one.

Super Woman or Super Tired?

Do you ever have one of those days where you feel super productive?

Today, we have done the following:

  • held preK class for Jack and Garrett
  • held kindergarten class for Liam
  • painted some masterpieces
  • played outside
  • eaten 2 good meals
  • and I've washed, folded, and put away all laundry.
And it's only 1:00 in the afternoon! This can only mean 1 of 2 things:
  1. I'm Super Woman.
  2. I'll need to go to bed at 8pm.
I can tell you that the former is absolutely not true, but I am looking forward to fulfilling the latter.

A side note: Yes, we are having "summer school". We began school this week, because summer in Texas is only good for swimming and air conditioning. Our skin can only handle so much sun and chlorine, which forces us to find many indoor activities. But summer school will allow us to finish our school year in April and enjoy our refreshing spring next year.

How I Know I'm the Only Female in the House, Part I

  • Bodily functions are followed by belly laughs from 4 of us.

  • The aforementioned happens numerous times every day.

  • And it's even funnier at the dinner table.

  • All 3 toilets need daily cleaning.

  • When I say, "It's time to change clothes," four of the five of us strip in the middle of the play room.

  • When walking through a dark room, I will stumble over trains or Legos. Never a Barbie.

  • Most underwear in the laundry basket have Shrek, Thomas or baseballs printed on them.
  •