Report Card

So, we're on day 5 of Liam's first grade year. How are we doing?

Liam will receive an A+ for waking up with excitement, maintaining good behavior at school, and eating like a pro both day and night.

Mommy will receive an A- for dropping him off each morning without too many tears.

I was only misty-eyed on day 1. Days 2 & 3 were tear-free. Day 4 had a glitch called rain, which required me to drop him off from the car, and I boo-hooed watching my little boy walk into that huge building without me.

Day 5 was tear-free, but I wore a huge smile when my school boy ran to the school's front door, only to return to us with unsolicited hugs for his brothers and me.

Have I ever mentioned what a lover Liam is? Mmm, I could eat him up! I know there will be a day all too soon when he won't hug us in person, so I soaked up today's.

Jack and Garrett will receive A+ for following me everywhere and for their positive attitudes during their home preschool. All three of us are enjoying the extra time we have with each other.

When we are not schooling, the little boys are busy being super heroes and fighting battles.
Daddy, Didi and Big Daddy (my parents) all receive an A++ for giving me a date night tonight!

Can I tell you what has been the best part of sending Liam to public school? Although I miss him all day, picking him up every afternoon has been an absolute delight. As soon as he spots me in the pick-up area, he runs to me and immediately hugs me and holds my hand. He sticks close to my side for at least the first 30 minutes after returning home, as he tells me about his day and doles out more love. I think he misses me at least a little bit.

How I will miss this loving stage some day! But for today, I can blog about it with a smile on my face and a warmth in my heart.


I am a lucky mama. Do you know why?

I had a super hero follow me all. day. long.

SuperJack to the rescue!
Everywhere I went, there he was. He assisted me with walking Liam to school, washing my car, borrowing books from the library, accomplishing small tasks around the house, and picking up Liam.

Yes, Jack wore his cape everywhere.

I even had to turn him away when I visited the restroom. "No, SuperJack, I can handle this on my own."

But I sure did chuckle over the cuteness of his imagination at work during our regular living. Do you think he turned a few heads while we were out and about? Oh yea!

There's Never a Dull Moment Around Here

Rick was home with us today, as he flew in this morning from a business trip. Around lunch, he hollered, "Ami, come look at all these bugs outside!" I met him in the breakfast area and looked out the window to see thousands of these "bugs" flying around our maple tree. I squinted this-a-way and that-a-way before I said, "Rick, those aren't just bugs. They're bees!"

Within a couple of minutes, they settled onto a branch of the maple just ten feet from our back door. What does any good blogger do with a sudden bee infestation? She takes the camera outside!
At first, we thought they were on a beehive or something, but they were actually settled onto each other. Thousands of bees takin' a little break on my tree that formed a huddle about the length and width of my thigh. (And I'll readily admit that my thighs aren't small.)

Apparently, the place to be is my backyard. Come one. Come all.

We made several calls to try to find help with our newest residents. We were a little afraid to do something about them ourselves, since Rick's recent heart attack taught us about the fragility of life.

FYI, the humane society does not help with bees.

Because I'm full of information today, would you like another FYI? It's cheaper to have the bees killed than to have them moved elsewhere.

As we waited for the exterminator to begin his spraying, Garrett watched with great anticipation. (Jack was napping, and Liam, a.k.a. the bug lover, was at school.)
Winston waited at our feet with this silly look.
"Hey, Mom, what'ssss goin' on out there," my furry boy asked.

Winston, the exterminator is here!
He sprayed what looked like a gallon of poison at our tree before he was satisfied that our grass was covered with dead bees.
Except for the Lone Ranger.
Who is now smashed on my porch.

Before you bee lovers write hate mail, please consider the fact that my husband is extremely allergic to all things outdoors. His heart attack three weeks ago was probably caused by an allergic reaction, so we just weren't willing to take a chance of him getting stung once, much less thousands of times. The exterminator also said the bees could easily be disturbed and reposition themselves into eaves of our house, so we really weren't willing to wait and see where they decided to settle next.

Dadgum, I Have a 1st Grader!

I'm happy to report the first day of 1st grade was a success.

Here is my big boy at bright-thirty in the morning.
(That's not a ponytail sprouting out of the top of his head. That would be the overgrowth of our flowerbed).

Liam wanted to be sure that I photographed his backside as well.
He's so proud of that camo backpack.

He didn't want me to walk him to his class, but I was able to use photography as my excuse to walk him in.

And the one photo I got with his teacher...blurry.

Well, I guess I'll be known as the mom who carries her camera every day until I can get a better shot. I might be called the paparazzi by the end of 1st grade.

I'm happy to report that I dropped him off without crying.

Until I noticed a sad face on Garrett. I asked my youngest what was wrong, and he fought back tears to say, "I don't want Liam to stay here. I miss him."

Dadgum, I was going to do this without tears!

I was, however, able to hold back the alligator tears and only get misty-eyed. Garrett's tears disappeared quickly, as I let the littles play at the park for a while.

We stayed busy all day, but my thoughts were never far from my school boy.

When we picked him up, Liam was happy and lovey. He gave me a hug right in the carpool line! Once we got home, I was the lucky recipient of 2 more unsolicited hugs.

When asked about his first day, he reported that lunch was his favorite part. Music was a close second, but he wanted to know when he has PE and art.

After his full report, I said, "It sounds like you had a good day." He said, "Uh huh, and I want to go back tomorrow."

Well, it's a good thing this school business works on a daily basis.

I have two questions for the moms of older students. How long will it be before I stop thinking about him every minute of the day? How long before he stops greeting me with a hug at the end of the day?

Because I don't want either to stop.

Putt-Putt and Mouth Filters

Two posts in one day? It's crazy, I know. But I wanted to post about our Putt-Putt experience today. (For those that didn't read today's earlier post, you might want to read it. I shared about a rather big change in our lives that will take place on Monday.)

So, we headed out to play miniature golf this morning. This was shortly after a hard rain, so the temperature was a surprising 76 degrees when we began at 10:30a.m. That is unheard of this time of year!

Just before beginning our game, I coached the boys a little. I had to tell them things such as, "This is golf, so don't hit the ball hard like a baseball." And, "Stay with me or the boogie man might grab you."
You can't tell by their faces, but we did have a good time.

Did I just see a mushroom on steroids?
I did! Look at it! It's half the size of a zebra!
Why do these places have to decorate with stupid motif? Are the 'shrooms, zebras, and palm trees supposed to make me feel like I'm stranded on a deserted island with my kids, fungus, and zoo animals? If so, I think I need to be a little frightened.
If we were on a deserted island, I think my hair would look something like this:
That hairstyle is frightening. It's called U-G-L-Y! Clearly, I would have been better off in a hat.

Some interesting facts about today's game:

  1. Three of us scored at least 1 hole-in-one.
  2. Two of my boys could possibly be true golfers.
  3. One of my boys could be an excellent golfer if he could focus for more than 0.2 seconds.
  4. I won the game, but Liam was a close second.
  5. I had forgotten there is a "Five stroke limit" rule, but I'm pretty sure it was invented for one of my little guys. I'm not naming names.
We were famished after such exercise, so we headed to the boys' favorite pizza joint. While we were there, we ran into "Mr. Richard", who is the little man that repairs the boys' glasses.

(Yes, we are on a first-name basis with everyone in the "glasses place", because we're there nearly every week. Three boys are hard on frames.)

Jack, the one who loves all older men, ran to him and put his little hand on Mr. Richard's and said, "What are you doing here? You're supposed to be at the glasses place! What if I break my glasses today?" I just about fell over. That Jackson!

We needed Mr. Richard's expertise earlier in the week, so we visited him in the "glasses place" on Monday, too. It was at that time that Jack informed the sweet man that he had boogers in his nose.

I wanted to crawl under a chair.

Two days later, the same child informs his doctor that his breath smells like coffee.

I wanted to crawl under the examining table.

I don't think there's a filter on Jack's mouth quite yet.

After today's pizza lunch, we headed to Target to find Liam a new shirt for the first day of school. And I looked for a mouth filter, but they were fresh out.

If we were on a deserted island, I suppose Jack couldn't embarrass me on a daily basis, so I think we'll stick around here.

Y'all have a great weekend!

Goodbye, Summer

Today is our last day of summer. Not the weather but the do-whatever-we-want part. Sadly, the weather will hang around another 200 days.

This summer has been our best yet. I haven't even minded the weather quite as much as usual. I've tried to look at this summer through my kids' eyes. To them, summer is fun, fun, FUN.

Whether we've been swimming, playing with friends, bowling, travelling, or just plain ol' hangin' out at home, we've tried to make the most of it. I think we'll all look back on this summer with sweet memories.

On Monday, we will begin a new phase in our lives. Liam will be going to public school.


When we decided to homeschool a couple years ago, I never thought public school would be acceptable for us. I'll admit that I even looked down on public school with a snooty nose turned up.

But my heart has changed over the past few months. I've wondered if I could be a better mother, if I weren't the sole teacher. I've wondered if I could have more quality time with my two youngest boys. I've wondered if my eldest could flourish as well away at school as he has with me. I've wondered if my mind could feel more stable without the sole responsibility of my kids' education resting on my shoulders.

Ultimately, homeschool wasn't working out as well as I had hoped. I couldn't handle all of the pressure. The perfectionist in me was a heavy-hearted, hardly-ever-smiling, grumpy mom.

I kept all of that heaviness to myself. I didn't want to admit defeat, especially to my husband. I knew he would immediately vote for putting Liam in school to help my sanity.

(I would not advise keeping such heavy issues from your spouse, by the way. We're supposed to be in this together. Your best friend should be able to bear up under your burdens with you.)

In late July, while we were in beautiful Vail, CO, I unloaded my heart to Rick. Surprisingly, he didn't shoot darts at me. I mean, I deserved it, but he lovingly said, "We can consider it."

I needed to hear that exact answer from him. I didn't need to hear, "Yes, absolutely. Liam's going to school. No questions asked!" I needed to hear that we could think and pray about it.

Think and pray we did.

And then, Rick had a heart attack on July 31. And our world was a little bit shaken.

We knew we were in the Lord's hands the entire time, but we felt like the heart attack was a wake-up call for us.

Not a wake-up call to change our diets, since this attack was not brought on by high cholesterol. But an alert to reassess where our hearts were.

The day after we knew he officially had a heart attack, Rick looked at me and said, "We have to simplify."

I swallowed and said, "Okay."

And he named a couple things we needed to alleviate. One of them was our homeschool coop.

"So, are you saying that we're not homeschooling anymore," I asked.

"I'm not saying that yet, but it's something we need to seriously consider," he said. "I want you to get online and start looking at registration times for our local school. I need you to be happy again."

We took the next several days to think and pray some more. I shed many a tear over my prayers for the Lord to please make His will clear to us.

Finally, we made a list of pros and cons to both homeschool and public school, because there are indeed pros and cons to every school setting. (Private school is just out of our budget.)

The head of my household looked at that list and said, "He needs to go to public school. I need to see you happy again. He just might flourish at school, but if he doesn't, we'll pull him out."

And the burden that has weighed so heavily on my mind for many months was lifted. I haven't cried since that day.

Until last night, when we took him to meet the teacher, and I envisioned my little first grader walking through that huge school without me.

He's growing up. Sniff, sniff.

But he needs to spread his wings a bit, and I know he'll be fine.

I just might need to cry again on Monday when I drop him off.

I'll still have my two little boys home with me. I'll be working with them, in case we decide to put them in kindergarten next year.

(At which point, I will need another baby in order to not work myself out of a job. Ahem.)

I'm signing off to enjoy our last fun day. The boys want to go play miniature golf.

I just want to watch them smile all day.

My Babies Are Growing

July 2008
August 2009

Did I or Did I Not?

Did I tell the lady that her skirt was stuck in her, um, undergarments?

Welllll, I'd love to tell you that I did the wonderful Christian thing. I'd love to say that I walked right up to her, tapped her on the shoulder, and whispered into her ear, "Your skirt is, um, stuck in your, um, underwear."

I really wanted to do the right thing. But my shy self overcame me, and I didn't do it.

I am so sorry. I have asked the Lord to forgive me. Dear Lady with your skirt stuck in your underwear, please forgive me. Dear Readers, please forgive me.

I promise to do better the next time.

What Would You Do?

I have a pressing question that I hope you all can weigh in on with your opinions. Are you ready?

Should I have told the lady at Prairie House Cafe that her skirt was stuck in her underwear???

Out of the Mouths of Babes

The boys have recently been talking about when they "grow up" and what they hope their lives will be like. Here are some excerpts:

Liam (6 years): Garrett, where do you want to live when we grow up?
Garrett (4 years): I want to live with the Aggies and my coach.
L: No! Don't you want to live with me?
G: Yea, but we have to live with the Aggies.
L: Mommy, will Garrett live with the Aggies forever?
Me: Well, people live in Aggieland during college, which takes about 4 years, but most people move away after that.
L: See, Garrett, we can't live with the Aggies forever. Do you want to live in Colorado or Florida?
G: Um, Colorado. No, no, I want to live near my Mommy.
M: [kisses that sweet baby]

Background: Rick and I have recently been calling Jack the "Polizei" (German police), because he spouts off constant reminders to everyone about every rule known to mankind. Not that he obeys the rules himself, mind you, but he wants everyone to know that he sees them when they are wrong.

As we were riding along in the car today, this conversation took place:
Liam: Garrett, do you want to be a baseball player when you grow up?
Me: [Silently: Does the crow fly?]
Garrett: Yes, I want to play for my Aggies.
Jack (4 years): We-y-ull, I'm gonna be a Polizei sometimes when I grow up. Yep, I'm gonna be a Polizei. I'm gonna be the Polizei because I'll be good at it.
Liam: You already are the Polizei.
Jack: We-y-ull, I'm still gonna be the Polizei sometimes.

Earlier in the week, the boys were talking about how many dogs they want when they grow up.
Liam: Mommy, you know how many dogs I want when I grow up?
M: No, how many?
L: FOUR! [with his eyes wide]
M: Whoa! That's a lot of poop to pick up.
L: Can I bring them home to meet you sometimes?
M: Sure, as long as you clean up the poop.
L: Well, I'm gonna have 4 Dalmatians, and I'm gonna name them Sam, Sally, and...I don't know yet.
Jack: We-y-ull, I'm gonna have 2 dogs, and I'm gonna name them Samuel and Peter.
M: Will you have Dalmatians, too?
J: No, I'm gonna have.... Hmm, we-y-ull, I'm gonna have sheepdogs.
M: Will you have sheep, too?
J: Yes, I'll have sheep and 2 sheepdogs and they'll be named Samuel and Peter.
Garrett: I'm not gonna have dogs. I'll just come see Mommy's dog, but do you know how many babies I want to get, Mommy?
M: No, how many?
G: 100 babies. [with eyes wide and arms spread wide and far]
M: Whoa, that's a lot of work! Are you going to adopt those babies, because you said you're going to "get" 100 babies?
G: Uh-huh, I'm going to adopt 100 babies. And I'll buy a machine that will help me to carry them.
J: They don't make machines like that. They just have strollers that carry 1 or 2 babies at a time.
G: Well, I'll make a machine to carry 100 babies. And I'll stay at home with them. And then, when I get tired, I'll sell them and go to college at Texas A&M.

Someday I will forget the innocence of their conversations. And I may even forget how sweet their little voices sound. (Sniff, sniff.) Not that their words are always sweet. Ahem.

We'll Accept Any and All Aggie Scholarships

We're trying to have some fun for these last few days of summer. One such fun day was bowling with friends. As I announced to the boys that it was time to leave the house, I reminded them to grab some socks.

Liam chose his baseball socks:
You should see that child bowl. It is a hoot! He starts running the moment his feet touch the wood flooring, and he hurls the ball, as if "he's playing shot put," as my friend Jena described it.

Texas A&M's track and field coach might want to look him up in 12 years. We'll gladly accept scholarships for his strong arm and fast legs.

His good buddy, Cab, takes a slower and more methodical approach:
After Liam and Cab took their first turns, they sat like this:
Yes, that's Liam sitting in Cab's lap. Aww, the innocence of being six!

Cab's little brother, Caden, insists on putting his fingers in the ball's three holes, even though he still needs two hands to drag that baby up to the line.
Jackson didn't want any of my help. Apparently, he didn't need it, because he came in 2nd place at the end of the game!

Texas A&M, are you impressed? Is there such a thing as an Aggie bowling league? If so, look us up in 14 years.
Garrett liked to watch his bowl roll at 0.2mph. Thank goodness, he's good at baseball. Because bowling...not so much.
"His coach" already knows about him, and we do expect baseball scholarships for that boy.

After the game, we gathered them up for a group picture. For some reason, they all wanted to do this:

(Left to right: Cab, Liam, Jack, Garrett, Caden)

We'll be sure and go back again soon to practice their shot put, bowling, baseball techniques. Aggies, you can reach us at 000-000--0012 in 12 and 14 years for your scholarship donations. We'll be ready for ya' by then.

Tents, Toys & Boys

The boys pulled out their tent one day last week. For some reason, whenever they pull out their tent, they also add every toy known to mankind.

Where does the instruction manual say, "Now that your tent is successfully standing, add every toy from your closet"?

They played happily with their tents and the entourage of toys for two days. For that time period, I told myself, "The mess is in their gameroom. Let it go. That's their space."

I patted myself on the back when Rick was the first parent to say, "This mess has got to go."

What Daddy didn't know is that Liam had already asked me if they could sleep in their tent that night. I agreed, because it sounded like fun.

In fact, if I weren't so keen on my own bed, I might have agreed to sleep with them. Except I really like my bed. And my personal space. And my comfort.

The other reason I agreed to their sleeping in the tent is because I knew that the boys couldn't possibly sleep with their 1,001 toys all around them. [insert evil laugh]

Once bedtime rolled around and toys were put in their appropriate homes, the gameroom was lookin' good. Almost as if there were no kids in the house.

But there are definitely boys living here. Thank goodness!
The two good buddies together, Liam and Garrett.
Once it was time to actually settle down, Jack didn't want to sleep with Liam and Garrett.

I don't blame him. It might be too much male bonding. So we pulled out another tent just his size. And all was well.
I was afraid the boys would play around, but they fell asleep instantly. Apparently, a bedtime 2 hours past the normal time induces instant snoring. Who knew?!

The next morning, the boys talked excitedly about their tent-sleeping experience and asked if they could sleep outside that night. I reminded them that it's August in Texas, and no one in their right mind sleeps in a tent under such hellacious heat. But we promised to try it in the fall.

Then, they asked if we would sleep with them. Yea, right! Boys, you have high-maintenance camping parents. We'll wait for Didi and Big Daddy's camper that has modern conveniences, such as running water, A/C, and TVs.

He Made It

That guy made it to his 38th birthday. And I sure am glad!

Happy birthday, Ricky! I love you and am so glad you're still here.

He's Home!

Rick was released from the hospital just before lunch yesterday. Hallelujah!

And to celebrate the fact that this heart attack did not damage his heart one bit, nor do his arteries show any sign of blockage, we ate TexMex for lunch.

As the two of us ate that artery-clogging meal, we stared at each other and smiled through happy tears, because we realize that God could have chosen a completely different outcome.

My husband could be in heaven right now. That would be unequivocally wonderful for him but heart breaking for the boys and me. As a result, we praise the Lord for choosing to spare Rick's life, and we've learned to be grateful for each new day, because we're never guaranteed another.

The night before he was released, I took the boys and the camera to see Daddy. We laughed over America's Funniest Videos, because it felt so good to laugh as a family of five.
Just before saying good night, each boy climbed into bed to get some lovin'. Naturally, I had them each pose for a photo. What's a major life event without some pictures?

Gig 'em, Daddy and G.
Jack was just a wee bit tempted to push all the buttons on the bed. "I'm just looking, Daddy. I'm not gonna' push anyfing." Yea, right.
The Nut had to make a goofy face, of course.

Now that this post is completely out of order anyway, I have to tell you about our first night after bringing Daddy home. Rick couldn't climb the stairs last night, so I got each boy ready for bed and then sent them back downstairs to tell Daddy good night. By the time I tucked each boy into bed, Liam was emotional. I asked him what was bothering him, and he sputtered, "I don't want Daddy to die."

Me either.

I loved on my boy and reminded him that Daddy was okay. It took him quite a while to calm down, because a bit of his innocence was lost as a result of Rick's heart attack. He's old enough to know that Daddy won't live forever and that God determines our number of days. But he's too young to understand that should God choose to take Daddy home tomorrow, we would be okay. Yes, it would hurt, but we would make it with our Father's help.

My mind must still be caught in a hospital haze, because my thoughts are all jumbled and so is this post. As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, Rick's heart shows no damage, and his arteries are clear. The cardiologist said, "Rick, it's as if you never had a heart attack, but you did have a heart attack." Elevated enzymes proved that fact.

The doctor said that we may never know the cause of this heart attack. One of the possibilities is that his gardening just minutes before the attack could have triggered an allergic reaction that caused a spasm in his heart. We'll never know for certain.

But what we do know is that he's alive and well today.

That Guy *UPDATED*

That guy that I married ten years ago.... That guy that I love very much.... That guy that's my best friend.... That guy that helps me raise three little men....

That guy had a heart attack Friday night.


Thankfully, it was a mild attack. Thankfully, the Lord kept pushing me to ask Rick if he thought he was having a heart attack that evening, when he complained of a weighted feeling on his chest. Thankfully, that guy didn't blow it off. Thankfully, that guy's dad is a doctor, and within 30 seconds on the phone with Rick, he told us to go the ER. Thankfully, we wound up at a hospital with a heart center.

Yep, my guy is now a heart patient. I'm still trying to wrap my brain around that idea.

He is in the hospital on a blood thinner and a beta blocker. He was pretty miserable yesterday with headaches and nausea, but he sounds much better this morning.

He will have an angiogram on Monday to check for blockage. If the blockage is cleared up, he will come home Monday. If the angiogram shows stubborn blockage, then a stint will be put in place at that time and he will come home Tuesday.

I am a worrier by nature. Normally, I'll worry over the slightest concern, even as something as simple as clipping the boys' nails. "Oh dear, I need to cut the boys' nails. When am I going to fit that in?" I'll then wring my hands for 2 minutes before I realize that those 2 minutes could have been spent cutting one hand of nails. I'm really not kidding. It's ridiculous the things I worry about.

But through this entire ordeal with my guy, I have not been worried. I know that it's the Lord's hand upon me that is keeping me calm. God is sovereign and in control. He knew about this heart attack long before we did, so I praise Him for showing us the signs when He did. And I thank Him that my guy's heart attack was mild. And I thank Him for a new day with my husband.

Rick is only 37 and in pretty good health. His dad thinks this heart attack was brought on by over exertion in the gym this past week. I can agree with that, but perhaps it's from his military approach on Mt. Elbert last weekend? Or perhaps it's because he'll be 38 next week?

Better yet, it's because the Lord allowed it and will use it for His purposes.

*UPDATED* Rick's heart cath has already taken place this morning (Monday). There was no blockage, and that is wonderful news! He will have to lie still on his back for 4-6 hours to prevent bleeding from the point of entry in his groin. The dr said that we will talk about more details later in the day, but Rick will more than likely be on heart meds for a while. He will also probably have to spend one more night in the hospital. That's alright. We'll do whatever they tell us is best. Thank you for your prayers and concerns.