Monday, December 29, 2008

Face Plant

It finally happened...we've been worrying about this (and Dr. Draehn has warned us about it, yes) for months and this morning it finally happened.  James got up earlier than I did, and Noble was in bed with me.  At 6:59 AM, the house seemed to shake and I woke up to what felt like a giant CRASH...Noble had fallen off the bed.  Or so it appeared.  Looking back, now that I'm fully awake and Noble obviously has no injuries, I think the truth is probably more like Noble climbed off the bed, then fell part of the way.  Because he's such a climbing little monkey, we've taught him how to lay on his tummy and back off of the couch/chairs/etc. until his feet touch the ground.  From the way he fell and the fact that he's still intact, I suspect this is what he was doing and just isn't tall enough to get all the way to the ground from our bed (it's an antique iron bed with modern mattresses, so it's a long way to the ground).  Anyway, he's fine and James and I neither one suffered a heart attack.  Noble recovered much faster than we did, by the way--he cried for a minute then was down and playing in the living room, which was probably his goal all along.  What a mess!  **We're now stepping up our resolution to get him to STAY in his own bed, not only for our sake but for safety's sake now, as well.  Wish us luck!!!


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

First Things first...

Sorry if this is a duplicate...we're having technical difficulties, apparently...

Our goal going into Christmas this year was to keep the first things first: faith, family and friends. I think we've done pretty well...we haven't been in a mall once since the beginning of December, and I haven't logged much Target time at all. :) The gifts are all wrapped and under the tree, and except for James', have been for a while. Our friends are receiving/have received gifts of goodies rather than gift cards, time rather than money. (Sorry if I just spoiled it for you, btw). We've had the pleasure of having Hannah with us for the past couple of days, which has kept Kayci busy and given me a chance to play candymaker. Well, cheap and easy candymaker--I've pretty much just been dipping things. And yes, I'm hooked...I finally had to stop today when I ran out of chocolate and almond bark. Probably a good thing, as the laundry was calling. Anyway, we've celebrated with Nana and Dan, and will see Jhido and Najwa, GoGo and Angus after Christmas. All that's left is Christmas here today and tomorrow, and our Clarkson Christmas tomorrow.

But I digress...our focus this year has been on our faith, our family, and our friends. While we've not done so well with getting to church on Sunday mornings, I'd argue that this year more than ever we've all (James, Kayci & I) really been able to remember why we have Christmas in the first place. I won't go into that here, because you guys know what it's about.

What's funny, and ultimately why I took a minute to post this morning, is HOW the 3 of us have been able to focus on the reason for the season. We started off this month reading "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" to Kayci. It quickly turned into Mommy reading to Kayci, Daddy and Noble every night...and every night we'd just laugh and laugh at the Herdmans. But you know, what's funny is that seeing Christmas through the eyes of those little heathens has really made it STICK with us...thinking of Imogene saying "My GOD!" in church can make me giggle still. I guess that's the beauty of it--seeing Christmas through the eyes of the unchurched made me/us realize just how blessed we are that God gave us his only Son at Christmas (or whenever your church calendar get the point). So that's what we're celebrating today, with grateful hearts.

That's not to say there wasn't a little dancing and singing this morning when Kayci realized that Santa Claus comes tonight...but at least this year, she gets that he comes because HE came.

Merry Christmas, everybody!

First things first...

Our goal going into Christmas this year was to keep the first things first:  faith, family and friends.  I think we've done pretty well...we haven't been in a mall once since the beginning of December, and I haven't logged much Target time at all.  :)  The gifts are all wrapped and under the tree, and except for James', have been for a while.  Our friends are receiving/have received gifts of goodies rather than gift cards, time rather than money.  (Sorry if I just spoiled it for you, btw).  We've had the pleasure of having Hannah with us for the past couple of days, which has kept Kayci busy and given me a chance to play candymaker.  Well, cheap and easy candymaker--I've pretty much just been dipping things.  And yes, I'm hooked...I finally had to stop today when I ran out of chocolate and almond bark.  Probably a good thing, as the laundry was calling.  Anyway, we've celebrated with Nana and Dan, and will see Jhido and Najwa, GoGo and Angus after Christmas.  All that's left is Christmas here today and tomorrow, and our Clarkson Christmas tomorrow.  

But I digress...our focus this year has been on our faith, our family, and our friends.  While we've not done so well with getting to church on Sunday mornings, I'd argue that this year more than ever we've all (James, Kayci & I) really been able to remember why we have Christmas in the first place.  I won't go into that here, because you guys know what it's about.  

What's funny, and ultimately why I took a minute to post this morning, is HOW the 3 of us have been able to focus on the reason for the season.  We started off this month reading "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" to Kayci.  It quickly turned into Mommy reading to Kayci, Daddy and Noble every night...and every night we'd just laugh and laugh at the Herdmans.  But you know, what's funny is that seeing Christmas through the eyes of those little heathens has really made it STICK with us...thinking of Imogene saying "My GOD!" in church can make me giggle still.  I guess that's the beauty of it--seeing Christmas through the eyes of the unchurched made me/us realize just how blessed we are that God gave us his only Son at Christmas (or whenever your church calendar get the point).  So that's what we're celebrating today, with grateful hearts.  

That's not to say there wasn't a little dancing and singing this morning when Kayci realized that Santa Claus comes tonight...but at least this year, she gets that he comes because HE came.  

Merry Christmas, everybody!!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Noah is so 3!

The Headleys are over playing this afternoon.  Noah's birthday is today, so it's even more fun! He is SOOOOOOO a 3-year-old boy, as illustrated by this conversation  (overheard as they headed into Kayci's room):

Okay, let's play Hannah Montana.  I'll be Miley, you be Jackson and you get to be Hannah Montana.

(And Noah, running behind the "big kids"...)  And I'll be the superhero!

P.S.  Paula, I don't know who fed your kids a whole gingerbread house.  Seriously, that would be wrong.  

P.P.S.  The next person who gives us a gingerbread house kit is on my list.  Apparently I have the wrong degree to construct the stinkin' things, much less decorate them.  I'm officially out of the business!

Family Fun

I won't even say we've been busy lately; everyone is, right?  :)  I just logged in and saw it's been a week since we've updated our blog.  Which stinks, because we never caught up on parade pictures.  Oh, well.  

Last night we had some of Kayci's friends over for dinner.  One of the girls is in Kayci's class, and the other is in 2nd grade.  All 3 of them sat on the bench so everyone could sit next to Kayci (sigh), and it was fun to listen to them talk about school.  The 2nd grader was telling us about her teachers, which led to a conversation about her daily schedule.  When she said that they did "English, Language Arts & Reading" in the afternoon, her sister broke in:  "But Jessie, you ALREADY speak English!"  

This morning was fun, too!  It was pretty icy here, so schools opened 2 hours late and it made for a relaxing morning.  We were sitting around (except for Daddy, who still had to go to work at 8) in our PJs, watching PBS and eating oatmeal, when Sherry called.  She was already in town with the girls and had just found out their school was closed until 10.  So she came and hung out with us for a while--Kayci and Noble love both of the Bogan girls, so it was a fun morning.  And I'm always glad for an excuse to visit with Sherry!  It got a little hairy for a while when I told Kayci to get dressed for school, and I have to share my horrible parenting skills with you guys.  We're going out for dinner tonight and lately, Kayci's clothing choices have been a little...orphan-ish for my taste.  So, for ONCE (are you proud of me, Lynn?) I suggested an outfit.  I did pick things that she likes, but she really, really gets grumpy when James or I try to pick clothes so of course things went downhill from there.  So she's in her room, saying she can't find the shirt I suggested, and I'm standing at her door, on the other side of Noble's gate, getting madder and madder that she's acting like she can't find the shirt I want her to wear.  Of course I think she's just not finding it because she's being difficult, so I tell her, if there are SO MANY CLOTHES in your closet that you cannot find the ONLY black long-sleeved shirt in there, then I guess I'll have to make a trip to Higgins Branch today to make room in your closet so you can find your clothes.  She still can't find it, so now I'm worried that I may have played my cards wrong...sure enough, I get into her closet and I can't find the shirt.  

Yep.  Turns out it was a PINK shirt--I'd gotten it confused with another one.  

Mother of the year, here.

I did apologize to her and hug her and tell her I was wrong...but I still looked like a giant a**.  Good thing Sherry's a good friend.  Of course, I won't tell you what HER daughter did next--I thought that was pretty funny, but she wouldn't laugh if I posted it here.  You'll have to ask her!

Hope you're hanging on to your sanity a bit better than I'm managing these days...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

It's Only One...

Noble has been a bit off this week, and this morning when he woke up with a fever it was like, and there it is.  You know your kid's a frequent flyer when the doctor looks up and says, "well, the good news is, this time it's only one (ear)."  Hey, we'll take all the good news we can get!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Okay... it's snowing.  Not giant Iowa drifts, I know, Paula :), but enough that our deck is white and you can see it coming down.  I hope Bitty gets to see it!  The Houstonian in me is struggling to break out--as soon as I saw the snow, I thought, do we have enough bread?  Milk?  :)  


Some of you have already called or e-mailed, but I'll break it to you all gently, all at once:

It may have snowed somewhere in Brenham (we did see snow on a car driving by), but it did not snow here at the little green house.  It IS cold and wet, though, if it's any consolation.  Sami's snug in her house with the lamp and her hay...we even put food inside for her this morning so she doesn't have to get out if she doesn't want to.  Noble is bundled, warm in his bed (okay, he's not asleep but he should be).  Kayci went off to school bundled up in a sweater, her puffy coat, scarf, hat, mittens...I have to say, she got burned by the whole snow thing last year so she could really care less that David Paul said snow in Brenham.  I don't even think she looked out the window this time...that's how little she cares.  Cynical already...must be our kid.  

Stay warm!  :)  

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

First Look...the Parade!

I know we're running behind and there are tons of photos we should probably post, but you know I don't know how to get them from the camera to the computer, so we'll go with what I have from e-mails.  (Thanks Angus!)  Later I'll post cute pics of the kids helping Daddy with the float--those made his week!

What's here:  Saturday before the parade, we went to the Holiday Open House up at the Giddings Stone Mansion--Kayci had a BLAST with the different crafts, and Noble was just in awe of the high ceilings.  :)  Then there's the parade, which is self-explanatory, and finally a couple of pics from Sleepytime Storytime at the library last night.  In the group shot, you can see Kayci's headband next to the blonde Scheffler in the front right.  

If anyone else has pictures, please e-mail them to us and we'll put them on the blog!  

Oh, and P.S.--congratulations to James and the Parade Committee--they won BRIGHTEST FLOAT this year!  

Friday, December 5, 2008

Big fun in Brenham this weekend!

This is one of the BEST weekends of the year to live in the big ol' town of Brenham--it's the annual Stroll and Lighted Christmas Parade!  If you're interested, here's more information.  We'll be out at the square tonight for the Stroll, and we'll be on the Germania float tomorrow night at the Parade.  Afterwards we figured whoever's in town can meet up at Must Be Heaven for some cocoa--feel free to join us!  :)  

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Snow on Stone St.

When we talked about our Advent activities, the one thing Kayci requested every time was to make "snow."  This is an activity I used to do in my classroom, and our first winter here, when we had the big ice storm and James got stuck in Austin and we were homebound for a few days, I introduced it to Kayci and now it's one of her favorite "winter" activities.  So, today I kept our afternoon clear for snow...

Here's Kayci, working hard at making the tp pieces small enough...

Here's Noble, being Noble--he just moves too darn fast for the camera...

What's cool about this year is that it's the first time Kayci's actually used the snow dough as a sculpting compound...the past 2 years, she's just played with it like play dough (it's fun to put it in a ziploc in the fridge so it gets cold!!).  Today when it was all mixed up, she went right to work making a snowman...then went back and forth to the office and kitchen gathering materials to "dress" him.  She even clipped the ends of the satin ribbon to look like a scarf, which I thought was genius!  So, meet Tra Li La Li, or Tra Li La for short.  :)  He's now sitting on a fun snowman plate as the centerpiece on our dining room table...darn it, Grandma, we had to move that gorgeous gingerbread house into Kayci's room.  Shucks!  


Kayci reached a major Kindergarten milestone today...she became a member of the 100 club!  We have been working on counting to 100 (I won't bother you with justifying why she could all along, just hadn't done it at school...) and this morning, she counted to 100 without pause as she was finishing her breakfast.  So we clapped and hooted, and I put a note in her folder telling her teacher that she's been counting to 100 consistently at home.  This morning, when it was time to "try out" for the 100 club, Kayci was the first kiddo to go...and she MADE IT!  Mrs. Bolcerek just happened to e-mail me before I left to pick up the girls from school, so I had time to grab a fun card so Kayci would see it when she got in the car.  When they got in, there was the normal jostling and commotion, then I said..."who's the proudest Mommy in car line?" and she said..."who's the proudest KID in car line??"  What fun!  Here she is, showing off her "I made the 100 Club!" sticker...

Little Boy Heaven

Noble loves wheels...anything with wheels or anything resembling wheels. Today we had to make an unexpected trip to Discount Tire to get something checked out, and I have to admit, I was a bit chapped at the unexpected stop that was throwing my schedule off. But we walked into the store, and the awe in Noble's face was just...breathtaking. He looked so intently at everything, from the tire displays to the big industrial lights and fans on the ceiling...he was just fascinated, and SO happy. We walked around and I let him touch the tires (of course, after he touched the first one he bent over and tried to put his mouth on it, so I kept him close) and smell them (ugh). He discovered a Michelin Man cut-out, and played peekaboo and giggled for several minutes, then I decided to let him down and snap his picture. My phone doesn't move fast enough to capture his big grins, but it's still a cute picture and a reminder to me that every interruption has the potential to be a blessing. :)

Christmas Fun

When Kayci was 3, we wanted to do something to make sure that she'd understand what Christmas is really about, and to spread out the fun over the whole month of December.  So that's the year that many of our "Pharaon" traditions were born.  More like begged, borrowed, and stolen, but hey.  So, some of you have asked about the different things we they are.

1)  I told y'all about Taylor last week.  She moves to a different spot overnight when she returns from the North Pole...Kayci looks for her first thing each morning.  :)

2)  Advent Calendar:  ours is a box thing from Target with a door for each day...I put a small index card in each day with a note of something Christmas-y we'll do that day.  I have to be very honest here:  for the past 2 years, I really worked hard on this, sitting down with our December calendar and trying to coordinate the activities with what we had going on, and match the books (see #3) the activity to our calendar...and it was really overkill.  Does Kayci care if the day has a theme?  Not so this year I stopped, and we're winging it!  So far, we've had:

1.  Brainstorm (she told me things we've done in the past that she wanted to do again--first on her list, make SNOW!) and Dress for the season (she'd been waiting to wear her Christmas t-shirt and I made her wait until the Monday after Thanksgiving for the first day back to school, and we also bought a pair of fun socks to match that we put in the 1 box for her to find that morning.  Definitely helped ease that transition...)
2.  Visit Miss Lou-Lou at the Library!  (we do this most Tuesdays, but it seemed silly to try to plan something on top of it...where would we have time, with homework, etc.?  Besides, Miss Lou-Lou does Christmas stories and songs in December, so it was totally a Christmas activity!  BTW, Noble danced to Miss Lou-Lou's banjo version of "Jingle Bells"--too cute!)
3.  Work on the float!  We went up to Germania so Kayci could help Daddy & the committee work on the float for Saturday's parade.  :)  She asked to stay for the last hour after I took Noble home to feed him, so she got some bonus Daddy time.  Awesome!
4.  Snow!  Today after school we'll make Ivory soap her book bag this morning (see #3, again), I included a bar of soap, our art grater (an old cheese grater we use solely for crayons, soap and other art stuff) and a roll of toilet paper. 

In the coming days, the cards will be for tomorrow's Stroll, Saturday's Parade, visiting the Book Fair at school, buying a gift for the Angel Tree (see #4), the PTO Christmas program, making/buying/wrapping gifts and our various family Christmas celebrations with the different sets of grandparents.  This year we're not focusing so much on having a product/craft every day as much as just emphasizing what we're already doing to celebrate Christmas.

3)  Book a Day--When Kayci was 3, Family Fun or some other magazine published a suggestion about wrapping a different Christmas-related book to open each day in December.  The past 2 years, I would work ahead of time to coordinate our daily Advent activity with the book selection so there was a theme...and then wrap the books ahead of time and number them 1-25 so she'd have to identify the correct number to open the gift.  We'd put the 25 books/gifts under the tree in her room, which was really fun for her.  This year, the first day I wasn't able to wrap the stuff, so I just put out a gift bag with Kayci's traditional first story (From a Stable so Small, a Hallmark ornament set and book for the button tree) and also a board book of The Christmas Story for Noble.  We always start the first day with The Christmas Story and emphasize that Christmas is to celebrate Jesus' birth...then on the 2nd day, we'll do a Santa story and talk about how Santa makes it fun, but he's not WHY we have Christmas.  

Kayci really liked that the gift bag was right with her Advent box, and so I did it again the 2nd day, with a fun box, and she asked if we could keep doing that instead of unwrapping presents in her room every day.  Fine by me!  This way, I save time and wrapping, and I can tailor the books to Kayci's interests, on Tuesday at the library, she looked at How the Grinch Stole Christmas and wanted to read it, so I told her we had it at home.  Wednesday morning, that was the book she found in the bag (it's Nana's from 1957, and Daddy wrote his name in it in green marker when he was around Kayci's age...kinda fun!).  We include a board book for Noble each day, and yesterday for the FIRST TIME EVER he read a book with Daddy (he won't read with me, just not interested)--he loved, loved The 12 Dogs of Christmas (Daddy played the song and read it/sang it to him).  Noble stared at that book--I snapped a picture to prove it, otherwise nobody would believe me that Mr. Busy slowed down long enough to read!

4)  We also talk a lot in November and December about people who maybe don't have basic needs, like food and clothing, and about kids whose parents don't have money/extra money to buy Christmas gifts.  So each year since she turned 3, Kayci has helped me go through her toys and select good ones to give away.  The first year we filled up a big U-Haul box as she'd outgrown most of her "2 year old toys," and last year she filled up a bag and then yes, I went in when she was at preschool and took out some things she never played with (Easy Bake oven, a dollhouse set, the Dora doll she HAD to have the year before for Christmas...good stuff, to share with MOPS Moms who needed gifts for their kiddos).  This year Kayci filled up a black trash bag, and she did so well that I won't even go in and sneak anything out...also, she's old enough now that I am trying to respect that she's keeping some things for a reason, even if it's not a "good" reason to me.  I myself am a pack rat, so I let her do it to an extent.  Note:  don't ever open her drawers or armoire.  :)  

This year, Kayci's monkey bank just happened to be full, so Tuesday night on their date she and Daddy went to CoinStar and turned in the $$.  She has almost $70!  ($31 in bills, thanks to the $20 bill Jhido gave her a couple of weeks ago...she didn't even say anything to us, just went and put it in the bank...good girl!).  We'll go today to deposit it in her credit union account, where we have her college money and also the money she's saved through the coins & bills she suckers out of Grandma, Grandpa & Jhido.  Once a year, we take money out to go to the circus--she uses her money to buy souvenirs.  Other than that, we leave it alone.  

Anyway, today's the day to deposit the money, and I have asked her to consider using her money to buy a gift for the Angel Tree at her school...I explained how some kids at her school won't get any gifts at all unless people like us buy nice toys for them.  I left it up to her--I'm curious to see if she volunteers any of her money.  I've never asked her to give any of HER money away before, in years past we've shopped for different kids, charities etc. as part of our Advent activities but always with Mommy & Daddy's money.  One last story:  the first year we lived here, she really, really wanted an ironing board for Christmas and Nana wanted to buy it for her, but couldn't find it at a Wal-Mart in Houston.  So I said I'd pick it up for her.  The day we went to Wal-Mart with our list of gifts to buy for the State School & foster kiddos, I had Kayci pick out the toys that were on the list and I told her that one little girl wanted the same ironing board Kayci wanted.  She didn't say a word, just put it in the basket.  I was so proud of her for giving away the one thing she really wanted for herself...I thought for sure the green-eyed monster would come out, but it didn't.  Not that's she's perfect and always giving, because she can be downright selfish...but moments like that show me that we're doing the right thing to keep pushing charity and sharing our many blessings.

Alrighty...this was going to be a quick one, but it's for you Mommys out there who've asked.  :)  And no, Boy, I'm not morphing into a Mommyblogger.  I hope.   Hope you guys have fun, and would love to hear what YOU do!  This doesn't even touch our family traditions, but we'll do that another day...I'm off to shower before Noble wakes up.  He's slept well this morning...between what I got done early this morning and since he's been down, I'm doing great in all 3 jobs today!  That doesn't happen often, so I'll cherish this a bit...crap, he's up.  Oh, well!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Knock Knock...

As we're walking in from Storytime at the Library, Noble says to Kayci (with some help from Mommy), 

"Knock, knock."
"Who's there?" says Kayci
"I don't know, I'm just a baby."  

So Kayci immediately comes back with...
"Knock, knock."
"Who's there?" says Noble/Mommy
"Jokes who?"
"You have GOT to get some better jokes!"

I just had to share...her Daddy will be jealous of how quick on her feet she was!  :)  

What's Important This Christmas

8:38 AM...Noble's been asleep for 38 minutes.  I've showered and dressed, put a load of laundry in, and heated the tea I started making an hour ago.  Now I'm going to sit down--actually SIT--for a few minutes and drink my tea instead of letting it get cold on the counter like every other day.  

There's something that's been on our (James' & my) minds for a while, and there's just no great way to say it that won't sound tacky.  But here it is:  please, please don't buy us a Christmas gift this year...chances are pretty good, we won't be buying one for you.  For years we've been trying to downsize our holiday spending frenzy, but every year, I get so INTO the shopping and wrapping and finding the perfect thing for everyone we know...well, it's just gotten out of hand in previous years.  This past year, we didn't distribute our last two Christmas gifts until AUGUST, which is just ridiculous, and I'm quite sure the receivers thought so, as well.  

For the past 6 years--it started before we even know she was a she, back in 2002--we've just gone overboard with Kayci's Christmas.  Even Santa has gotten in on the act, bringing the special items she's asked for and more.  So while Christmas morning in our house has been a lot of fun, and we love to see our grateful girl open gifts, the fact remains that 3 hours after we start, we're left with a pile of STUFF that she doesn't need...much of which she didn't want as much as we wanted her to have it, if that makes sense.  Then multiply that by 4 different sets of grandparents who spoil her, as well, and yes, you aunts & uncles & friends & Godparents out there who do the turns into a month-long celebration of getting stuff.  And I hate to break it to all of us, but Kayci doesn't play with most of the things she gets after the first day or so...she spends more time in the office with paper and markers and glue and stickers than she does in her room, which is any other little girl's dream.  

The fact is, if we want something or need something, we go out and get it.  It's not like when we were kids, and Christmas was the BIG know, when we got the toys we'd been eyeing for the past year, and the special clothes items that Mom & Dad just couldn't justify for school clothes shopping.  None of the four of us NEED anything, and truthfully, we have very few wants.  Kayci, of course, has a few special things she'd like this year, but we've been talking to her for quite a while about how we HAVE so much, we don't need to GET as much for Christmas as we have in the past.  Does she understand?  Probably not.  Will she be disappointed Christmas morning?  Probably.  But I know kids who get a lot more than she does who are still disappointed on Christmas morning, so that can't really be a factor.  The thing is, we all (the Pharaons, at least) need to appreciate what we have a bit more.  A lot more, actually.  

It's one thing to say we're going to change our focus, and another thing to do it.  God stepped in this year and made it a lot easier for us to focus on what's important this Christmas--the people in our lives.  To that end, we'll say it again:  please don't buy us a gift this year.  Instead, let's make time--not in December, crazy--to get together for dinner, or even to go see a movie.  We're always saying to our friends, we need to get together...well, let's do it.  Easier said than done, I let's say we'll do it sometime in 2009 and leave it at that.  :)  

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Playing Fetch with Kayci and "I'm done!"

This is a long clip (4 minutes), but it's worth it. Kayci got to feed Noble yesterday, and to our surprise he ate better for her (with less mess, even) than he does for either me or Kristi. We've said all along that Kayci is Noble's favorite person in the world, so this is just further evidence.

But that didn't stop him from repeatedly throwing his spoon on the floor and making Kayci fetch it.

But the best part of this video is at the end where Kayci tells him to say "I'm done" ... and he does.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Taylor Time!

When Kayci was 3, Santa sent a scout elf to live with us during the holiday season.  Kayci named her Taylor, and each night, Taylor would go back to the North Pole, report to Santa, and return to our house the next day.  Every morning, Kayci would wake up and look for Taylor's new hiding place.  It was always fun to see where Taylor would pop up next.  Last year, Taylor returned, and we enjoyed another month of elf-ing.  Kayci has been so excited about Thanksgiving, and finally she told me why:  because it meant it was time for Taylor to come back.  Yesterday off and on she'd mention Taylor.  She talked to James about whether or not Taylor would know that we aren't in Marble Falls or Fredericksburg (where we usually go after Thanksgiving), and he assured her that Santa would send Taylor to the right place.  

Last night, James and I went on a date to see "Four Christmases."  (We laughed out loud, but it's not one we'll buy or anything.)  While we were gone, Kayci made this drawing for Taylor (I don't know why it's sideways, and James will cringe):

When we got home and I put Kayci to bed, she was so excited about Taylor...she said she thought she might stay up "all night" to watch for her.  And promptly fell asleep.  This morning I awoke to a 5 year old girl poking me saying, "wake up."  Umm...okay.  She was bouncing up and down, come see, come see--lo and behold, Taylor had returned.  Kayci found her perched on the piano, with a book to explain the tradition to Noble and a gift for each child.  Christmas has officially begun at our house!  

Giving Thanks at Our House...

This year, for a variety of reasons, we hosted Thanksgiving at our house.  Most years we celebrate with either "his" family or "my" family, but this was one of those years where we said everyone's welcome...come on out!  And they did!  We had  a great group this year, with the usual suspects along with Great Grandma Curtis in from Colorado and Lois, Richard and Marsha from Kansas (well, also Texas, but they still drove over 5 hours to come and eat with us!).   All in all, there were 14 of us here yesterday.  If you've been to the little green house, you know that it was pretty crowded in here, but it wasn't bad at all...everyone visited and kind of did their own thing (as much as you can in a space like this), and we're grateful the weather was nice so the deck was available, as well.  The food was wonderful (thanks for everyone who brought something to the table), and I'm particularly proud of James' turkey.  There were several phone consultations, but this is the second time that James has done a turkey all by himself, and it was great!  We actually weren't horribly late serving (also a surprise if you've been here), and had the oven cooperated we would have been right on time.  As it was, we were about 4oish minutes behind schedule, but I don't think anyone got too anxious.  To have that many people, and that many different families, together is just an awesome thing, and those of you who have big families know this kind of thing can go either way.  But in our book, it was a success--it felt so good to have Lois cooking in our kitchen (we had to call in the Weseloh girls on the gravy, as it's not something we make around here...ever), and Marsha walking around with her camera.  It felt like...home.  This year especially we are grateful for our family, near and far, and for the opportunity to share this day and our table(s).  :)  Happy Thanksgiving!  

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Killin' Time...

That old Clint Black song has been in my head this week, hence the title of the post.  Today was Kayci's first ever early dismissal from Kindergarten.  She was pretty excited about being able to have lunch with us, but at the same time, a bit apprehensive about WHICH half of the day she'd miss out on...hee hee.  She'd asked me if I would be the first one in car line, and I told her no because quite frankly, I don't usually have an hour to kill waiting at the school.  But today, the universe conspired against me (it had to be about me, right?) and Noble just wouldn't nap.  At 11:00 he asked for nigh nigh, so I decided to grab him and the laptop and yes, go sit in car line for an hour.  He'd nap, I'd get my report done...well, he didn't nap.  But I did make progress on my report!  Kayci was SOOOOOOOOOO excited that we were the first in car line, too.  I don't think it made me mother of the year or anything, but for about 5 seconds, I felt pretty good about my parenting.  So...on the car line high, we took off from school, but now, since car line was over so quickly, we had 30 minutes to kill before James' lunch began.  I thought, what can I get done in 30 minutes at home...then realized, that stuff'll be there after lunch.  I did something I haven't done all school year--I took the kids to the park on a whim.  It was awesome, too...the weather is gorgeous today, and Jackson St. Park was pretty well empty except for 3 very happy Pharaons.  And yes, unfortunately, the laundry and dirty house were waiting after we got home from CiCi's (Kayci's choice).  Ha ha, though--I showed them...I laid down with my kiddos and took a nap.  Now it's time to pay the piper, but for a few hours there, I was mother of the year.   

I apologize--these aren't the best pictures, but you get the idea.  The kids had a blast!  

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Like buttah!

Thanks to my Kansas cousins for introducing us to making butter!  This is one of those things I would do in my PPCD classroom, but I never knew what I was doing and now I know we never quite got it right (sorry, Ms. Elaine!).  A few years ago at the reunion, Connie brought in glass butter churns (is that what you call them?) and we made butter.  The older generation told us the different tricks to making great butter, like the cold water bath.  It was a lot of fun, and when we came home we made our own butter several times before it went the way of most things that take more than a few seconds.  

Anyway, since Dad was in the hospital, I wasn't able to go up to Kayci's school on Halloween and do an art activity with them.  So, I asked Mrs. Bolcerek if I could do something this week instead, like make butter or do hand turkeys.  We planned it for today at 12:30 so Daddy could join us, too.  We had a blast, and I think Kayci and her friends did, too!  I was impressed that the kids got into it and all but a couple of them had a pretty good jar of butter.  It was so funny to see the kids piling the butter on their crackers...I'd say most of them came up with  2-3 Tablespoons of butter, and there wasn't much left on the plates at the end.  Ugh!  Kayci is a butter eater from way back, so this was right up her alley.  :)  I was proud that she didn't make a peep when it was time for us to leave...I was worried we'd have some drama when it was time to say goodbye.  I have to say, I'm disappointed they're not doing a feast or anything.  (They'll do it next year in 1st grade.)  Not disappointed enough to like, do one myself, but you know...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sunday Blues

Last night I was sitting on the couch giving Noble a bottle.  The pizza was ready and it was past time to eat, so James fixed our plates and brought them into the living room so we could all sit together while I fed & cuddled Noble.  Kayci sat next to me, and she was just picking at her food.  Finally, she turned and said:

I need to tell you something.  I don't want to go to school tomorrow.  I know it's not a choice, but I just wanted to tell you that I don't want to go.

I was shocked that she'd said it so well, instead of whining or throwing a fit, etc.  Of course, I was at a loss for words and was looking for a balance between babying her and telling her to butch up, so in the meantime she did start crying for was sad, because she's right.  Here's are her main gripes, in no particular order...

It's not fair that I have to go to school for 5 days and only get to stay home for 2 days.  (We talked about that, but hey, what can we really say?  We ALL feel that way!)

I have to go to school and you both get to stay home.  (I said, no, Daddy goes to work while you're at school and she said no, both you and Noble.  Well, crap.  Yeah...)

While I'm at school, the three of you have lunch together every day and I don't get to have lunch with you.  (Well, yeah, but we don't get the cool lunch box, so we'll call that a draw.)

I don't like going to school every day.  It's hard.  (This is the first time since she went to KinderCare as a toddler that she's gone anywhere for 5 days in a row...I don't blame her on this one.  Last year when she started going to school 4 days a week, I was lost for a long time.)  

This was one of those parenting moments when you can't take the time to huddle, you just have to muddle your way through and hope you get it right.  I don't know if we got it right, but she woke up happy and ready to go this morning, so that was a relief.

Alrighty...I've been blogging this morning for a few seconds here and there--now I've got to get back to grading before Noble realizes he's asleep and wakes up.  Happy Monday! 

Na Na!

I was watching Noble explore this morning and talking to him, listening to him, and it occurred to me: the child is fascinating. (I don't mean that Kayci was less than fascinating, but life was moving at the speed of light 5 years ago and I didn't always take the time consistently to just be in awe of her.) Anyway...we're very blessed right now to be at a point where we can just stop, look and listen.  

James and Kayci (or, more to the point, Da Da and Dee Dee) haven't lost any sleep over it, but my big ol' ego and I have been dying for Noble to say Mommy.  Or Ma.  Or Ma Ma...I don't care what you call me, just call me!  For a while now, when he wanted me, he was just go "nnnnnnn" (reminded me of my Resource class learning about Norman Newsome's nose going nnnnnnn nnnnnnnnn nnnnnnnnnn...).  We even joked about it, how he didn't need to say my name, he'd just make a noise and I'd be there.  (Um, yeah, not overprotective at all but when the kid gets quiet, you'd better run...and if gets quiet and THEN he calls you, you'd better fly.  Case in point:  last night he went into Kayci's room while we were making pizza.  I kept going in to check on him, all was well.  A few minutes later, we heard...wait, that would ruin what I was going to say.  Well, he started calling our names and I ran in there and he was up on Kayci's stool on his knees, stuck.)

Okay, so this one's a round trip.  Back to the nnnnn...I didn't think that was my name, per se, as much as the sound he made when he needed comfort or cuddles, i.e. Mommy.  He does say nigh nigh when he's ready to have a bottle and cuddle to sleep, and he's always said "neh" when he's hungry. So the nnnnn sound is kind of a basic needs thing to us.

 Well...this weekend the nnnnnn evolved into Na Na.  We've heard it over and over, crawling through the house, Na Na Na Na...getting stuck, Na Na Da Da...3:17 this morning in the crib, Na Na?  Da Da?  Na NAAAAAA...  Standing beside the tub this morning, waiting for me to put him in the shower with me, Na Na.  

So there it is, I have a name.  I've been totally psyched about it, too.  But just now, he went over to the buffet and stood up to check it all out, reached into the wine rack and started saying Na Na!  Na Na!  I told him "ah ah!" so he'd put his hands down, and he did.  He wasn't stuck, so I didn't go get him.   I was like, oh, he's talking to me.  Then he actually got a bottle of wine, and I said NO! NO! as I hurried to grab it/him.  He said Na Na!  Hmm.  Crap.  

Ooh, and speaking of:  one of Noble's favorite words is poop.  I think it must feel fun to say it--I know I have fun with it.  :)  He crawls around, poop poop poop.  What's cool is, he knows what it means, because when I ask him "do you have poop?" He'll grin if he does, or say "uh uh" if he doesn't...or ignore me if he's still working.  

I wish the camera looked out instead of in...I'm sitting on the couch and he's standing in front of me, peering around the computer playing peek a boo.  It's cool, because it's HIS game, not me playing with him.  What fun!  

Okay, hang in there...

Both of Brad & Sherri's girls have pacifiers.  If you'll remember, Noble refused his pacifier a long time ago in favor of his thumb, and now won't take either.  We had to keep a close eye on him this weekend...he'd stalk the baby, waiting for us to let our guard down so he could swoop in and steal her passy, as Addie calls it.  At one point, we let him take it, thinking he'd realize what it was and lose interest.  Nope.  If you can picture him on his tummy/elbows, both hands on the pacifier just chewing the heck out of it, turning it around, etc...after just a minute, he was literally wet up to his elbows and laying in a puddle.  So I washed it, gave it back and we dug up one of his as a decoy.  We thought we were smart, but he got us...he was in the office with Addie, and I guess she put her passy down to go do something.  James and I were cooking or something, just keeping one eye on him.  He turned around and put his back to us, and was sitting there all hunched over.  I realized what he was doing, and whispered to Daddy.  He called Noble's name and Noble turned around with Addie's passy in his mouth, and when he saw Daddy looking at him he whipped his head back around like, you don't see me.  After that, we couldn't get him to look at us--guess he was "hiding."  Not so well, but hey, he's young yet.  It was hilarious that he thought he was pulling one over on us, though.  And yep, we washed the passy and didn't let him have it was funny, though.  Don't tell Brad & Sherri, we'll be off their list...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What a day!

We had a rare thing happen today--we had absolutely NO PLANS.  It was great!  Would have been greater if the whole family hadn't decided to get up at 4 freaking 30...but hey, you can't win 'em all.  Here's a fun pic of Kayci reading "Blankie" to all of us--I was amazed at the words she can read now!!

I feel like we've been posting a lot of Noble lately, but he's just at a really fun place right now. Fun in the, take your breath away, take 10 years off your life way...
This afternoon we had company (James' dad and Addie & Kaylin, our friends' kiddos) and Noble was in rare form. He was playing on the living room floor, then took off for the front door. Addie followed him and we thought they were playing, then she came back around. Then the curtains behind the couch started moving, and just as we realized what was going on, Noble started squawking. We very carefully got off the couch, thinking he was stuck behind...but nope. The turkey must have realized that he could crawl between the couch and the wall to get into the "forbidden" corner. He had a blast turning the subwoofer up and down, licking Kayci's HSM dance mat (hey, figured he earned it) and chewing on the rocking chair. More power to him!

Friday, November 21, 2008

You might think it's cute, but it's snot...

Hee hee, Ronny snapped this last weekend.  If you've seen Nobley at all this fall, you, too, have seen the snot bubble.  

Break it to me gently...

Last night was Kayci's last soccer game.  I can speak for all 4 Pharaons when I say, soccer was a BALL!  We really enjoyed the games, hanging out outside, visiting with other families, etc.  I am a little sad to see it go, but glad our schedule will open up now for holiday fun.  :)

Kayci's coach gave every girl a trophy (a cute little girl kicking a soccer ball--both freaky and fun).  Kayci was way, way excited about the trophy, and after our celebratory dinner at Chili's, we found out why.  She said, "I thought I was the only girl who got a trophy."  We said, no, it's not that kind of trophy--every girl got one.  Daddy and I explained that sometimes you get a trophy for playing, and sometimes you get a trophy for being the best.  Well...that opened up a can of worms, because Confident Kayci said something to the effect of, if they did give out a trophy for being the best, she'd get that one.  Well...all apologies to her self esteem, but we had to break it to her gently that no, she wouldn't...Kenley, another little girl on the team, always gives 200% and is consistently on the ball, etc.  We didn't talk about Kenley's scoring (she's amazing on the goals, too) but focused on how hard she works and how she always, always tries her best--things we've been trying to get Kayci to work on.  Well...that didn't go over well, hearing that you can't go out there and not try and still be the best, so then she cried.  Part of me was glad it was finally (after 2 months!) sinking in, but it's still hard to know we hurt her feelings.  So the rest of the ride home, we came up with things that Daddy is not the best at, but he tries anyway.  By the time we got home, Kayci felt better but Daddy's self esteem was bruised.  Oh, well, sometimes you gotta take one for the team.  

Monday, November 17, 2008

If you're only reading the e-mails...

Many of you e-mailed that you didn't know how to view Ronny's blog, which makes me think that some of you are reading the automatic e-mails, but not actually visiting the blog.  If so, you're missing out!!  The blog has all of our entries, of course, but it also shows you which blogs we follow, etc.  (It's can just click on a link and it automatically opens in a new window.)

Anyway, go check out the blog for yourself, and while you're at it, click around and see what our family & friends are up to!

And before I go, don't forget--this Thursday is Kayci's last soccer game if you're interested!  

If you want to go to our blog, here's the address:

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Happy Birthday, Grandpa!

Yesterday, Grandpa turned 65.  He celebrated with a trip to Brenham (his first since the hurricane!).  Little did he know, the reason we kept pushing for him to come here was to save Ronny the trip to Houston.  Ronny had to be in the States this week for work, and planned it so he'd be here this weekend to surprise Grandpa for his birthday.  This morning, Grandpa woke up and said he wanted to go to a diner for breakfast.  We were happy to oblige...and when we arrived at the Bread Basket, guess who was standing outside?  Turns out, it's true--the best things in life aren't "things"--that's the best gift anyone could have given Grandpa (and Grandma!).  You'll have to watch Ronny's blog and see what he has to say about his adventures this week.  :)

To make a great day even better, Timmy came, too!  (So did Susie & Ward, and we had cake and pie...and tons of candles.)  Happy birthday, Grandpa!  

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mobile Noble 3: Fast and Furious

Noble has mastered the art of crawling by himself from one end of the house to the other. He loves being mobile because it gives him the opportunity to get into MORE STUFF in lots of interesting places.

And he's gotten CRAZY FAST, as you can see in this video. We're thinking of hooking a generator up to the little guy.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Soccer's Wrapping Up...

For those of you who are interested in watching Kayci play, we're in the final stretch. She has a game tonight at 6 (well, it's pretty rainy so maybe not), then a game on Thursday (Nana & Dan are coming to that one) and her last game is next Thursday, the 20th. So, if you want to watch Bitty play...make plans today!

Also, if you ordered from her school fundraiser, you should have received your items in the mail. If you didn't get yours, please let me know so I can take care of it for you. Thanks so much for supporting Krause! :)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Friday, November 7, 2008

99 Balloons

Once again, have to cite my friend Brenda...

This morning she posted a video that reminded me that each day is truly a gift, and how much I take for granted.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Cuddly Bubby

This is how Noble and I spent most of the morning...the hand clutching the shirt came in when I tried to get up off the couch. I had James snap this picture when he came in for lunch to relieve me so I could run a quick errand. :)

Sick Bubby

Noble has some random upper respiratory infection, along with a virus that's causing a high (for him, 101 degrees) fever.  This is the 3rd day of the fever, so he's been very fussy and just not himself.  We've been spending our time on the couch--he's happiest when he's laying on me, of course, and while I do protest a bit too much about the laundry and my work that are not getting done, well, it's kind of nice to just BE for a bit.  But seriously, this fever's gotta break or one of us is going to go nuts.

Anyway, for fun this morning I dressed him in the tiedyed onesie Aunt Peggy sent him.  I thought the bright colors would brighten his mood.  Not sure that he's affected, but I sure smile when I see him!  :)  

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Kayci's Vote

Kayci's class had an election yesterday--her take on it is priceless.  Apparently, one little boy got a talking to for repeating what his grandparents said about one of the candidates (can only imagine) and the teacher had to break in at one point and tell the class that you shouldn't vote for someone just because you share the same skin color (we agree).  Anyway, she asked me to show you guys her ballot and her Weekly Reader.  Remember those?  :)

This is Kayci and Daddy at our polling site, Blinn College.  She was so excited--it was a little surreal, as a friend of ours signed us in and then another friend's name was actually on the ballot.  Gotta love living in a small town!  :)  

Get out and vote!

We are all up early, getting ready to go cast our ballots. James has memories of voting with his Mom when he was Kayci's age, so we wanted to make sure to include Kayci this morning (hence the 7 AM call time). Kayci early voted yesterday in class...when she told me about and she said the name she voted for and then said, "Oh, Mommy, that IS the hero guy, right?" See, they do listen!

Anyway, short post, big message--no matter how busy you are today, get out and VOTE.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Speaking Noble-ese

So, Noble's definitely a second child when it comes to his language. It's hilarious, because he has fewer words than Kayci did at this point (I know, I know, you shouldn't compare kids, especially boys and girls)...but, he's great at communicating. Today was one of those days when he was completely off schedule, consequently, keeping Mommy off-kilter. I amused myself by keeping track of his "language" all day. Here's what I heard, and they're all sounds that we hear regularly so I'm assuming they're turning into words:

"Iwantthat"--it's all one word, used when he was reaching for baby food at the store, Mommy's water, his cup, etc.--he's requesting (and yep, when I step back and listen to ME, when he asks for something/reaches/etc. I say "want that?")

"Ihabthat"--cousin to "I want that", used when he's sure he's got his hands on said "that"

"Igetthat"--he's playing with "that" (think this one comes from us always telling him we're going to "get him")

"AhAh!"--this one was funny. He didn't want me to put him in his crib, and ahah'ed me. (That's what we say to get his attention instead of saying no, no all the time. It's more of a noise than anything.)

"DaDa"--his favorite syllable, word, name it! Originally, it meant "bottle", and has evolved to also be Daddy's name. (Although he is experimenting with "DaDee.")

"NeNeNe"--he's babytalking, telling us he's at the end of his rope and needs a bottle and comfort ASAP!

"NighNigh"--He was tired today and after "nenene"ing, he laid his head on my shoulder and tucked his arms in (Noble-ese for he's ready to sleep). He patted my shoulder and said, "nighnigh."

"DeeDee"--Consistently, this one is Kayci. :) It drives me nuts, though, when she refers to herSELF as DeeDee. We're not starting that--we know a DeeDee already, and it ain't Kayci!

"Huhhuh"--Noble has the dorkiest little laugh, not his belly laugh but his "hey, I'm slightly amused" laugh. Love it!!

New rant/political post on Destructoville

I have a new rant/political post on Destructoville, if you are so inclined.

God and the age in which we live

Kayci and I were having a conversation in the car on the way back to Brenham on Friday morning (we stayed the night in Houston after visiting Tim in the hospital and woke up really early to get back for work and school.) She told me, looking out the car window, that she could see three stars side by side in the sky. That, I told her, was a constellation called Orion. That's the constellation from which Great Grandaddy Curtis got his middle name and from whom Noble got his middle name.

Kristi and I have a habit when we see the Orion in the night sky of saying "hello, Granddaddy." It's just a nice little reminder of a really great man. So I told Kayci that that's why sometimes we say hi to Granddaddy. We talked about how he's not really there at the star and that he was really in heaven with God.

Then Kayci asked me what God looked like. I have my own idea of what both God and heaven look like, but everyone does. She said that she thought He looks like a little man with a beard behind the stars. I told her I didn't know and that no one on Earth really knows. To which she replied:

"Maybe when we get home we can look it up on the internet."

Scenes from Halloween!

Happy Halloween

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Ruin Me, Indeed

Ironically, last week I posted about a song that really touched us, Ruin Me. And lo and behold, immediately after our week's plans were shot, well, shot. First of all, Monday ROCKED...I got in a full 8 hours for GPISD, from home, with Noble. It was AMAZING! And then Kayci got home from school...she went straight to bed for 2 hours, then woke up with a fever. We called the soccer coach and made appropriate apologies. It was a very quiet evening at home until bedtime--an hour after we went to sleep, Kayci came and got me and then promptly threw up (but, being my daughter, it was all very organized, in the toilet, etc. Yea!). I went back to her bed with her and she had a hard time going back to sleep. I think she thought she'd been asleep for a lot longer than she had, because she wanted to get up. I told her, when Daddy gets up and stays up, we'll get up. Well, at 2 AM, Daddy and Noble got up and Daddy wandered in to check on us. That was all she wrote--she bugged me for the next 30 minutes until I gave in and we moved out to the couch. She watched a movie and I tried to sleep, and we finally REALLY went to sleep right before Daddy left for the gym. Tuesday was a quiet day at home, with both kids feeling puny. Luckily, it was truly a 24 hour virus and we were able to go to Houston on Wednesday so I could go to the hospital and sit with Grandpa. He had a really rough week, but was feeling well enough on Friday that the Pharaons were able to head home for Halloween.

We LOVE Halloween here in Brenham! We sat on the front porch and had dinner, then walked around the neighborhood and trick-or-treated. Just like when we were kids! It gives Kayci a chance to experience something that's pretty rare, and Mommy & Daddy a chance to visit with neighbors. It was just awesome! Noble ended up sleeping...he was one tired Jedi after 3 days in a row at KinderCare (he got better each day--I don't think he cried at all on Friday!). We went back home and sat on the front porch until we ran out of candy and glow-bracelets. A funny thing about trick-or-treaters on our busy street: not one walked up, cars just pull up and stop and kids get out, come up the walk and then go get back in the car. At one point there were 4 cars in front of our house--it was just funny, something our Houston friends probably can't even imagine. :)

Saturday it was back to the hospital for Mommy, while Daddy & the kids got to take a long-anticipated trip to the San Jacinto Monument. We spent some time that afternoon shopping, then had a late dinner with Grandma before we hit the road for home. It was a long day, but a great day--Grandpa has been improving steadily since Thursday night, and we hope he'll go home in the next couple of days. It's so good to see him eating again (although he'd rather have a Whataburger than broth, but what can you do?).

Today we had hoped to enjoy our extra hour of sleep, but we ended up being wide awake at 4:30 AM. Daddy & I caught up on Grey's Anatomy and the Office before Kayci woke up, then we had plenty of time to hang out before church. Jhido and Adam came up for lunch, and we had a great meal outdoors at the Airport. There were so many planes today, and it seems that those who didn't fly in rode motorcycles--there were a ton of motorcycles. It was a gorgeous day today!

A Room of One's Own

I sent poor James out into the wilds of Destructoville for daring to share his unrelated views on our family blog, so it's only fair that I do the same. Random thoughts and musings will be posted as it tickles my fancy on my personal blog, Adventures of MommyGirl. That's me! I won't send out e-mail updates, just feel free to pop in whenever you've got a minute or are just really, really bored. I dig comments, by the way--it's turned out to be a really fun way to communicate with some of you who I don't normally get to speak to on a daily basis!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Kayci's turn

Kayci asked me to post 2 things on the blog tonight...a picture of a ghost she drew, and a picture of her in pigtails (she did them herself, bow and all).  :)  

Monday, October 27, 2008

Mobile Noble 2: The Need For Speed

It's official. As of today, Noble is no longer "commando crawling" and has started crawling for real. It's so weird because just yesterday he was sliding himself across the floor and today it's like he's been crawling for a month. And he's getting faster with every passing hour.

It's a lot of fun to watch, and we're excited to share it with you:

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Ruin Me

This struck a chord in us today, thinking of how we sometimes get lost in our plans for our lives and forget to seek God's will.    On that note, we attended our first Dave Ramsey class this evening, and feel encouraged that we're growing up when it comes to our money--or lack of.  We'll get it, with a little work and a lot of prayer.  Anyway, here's the song:  

Ruin Me

Woe to me I am unclean
A sinner found in Your presence
I see you seated on Your throne
Exalted, Your Glory surrounds You

Now the plans that I have made
Fail to compare when I see your glory

Ruin my life the plans I have made
Ruin desires for my own selfish gain
Destroy the idols that have taken Your place
'Till its You alone I live for,
You alone I live for. (repeat)

Holy Holy is the Lord Almighty
Holy is the Lord!

Holy Holy is the Lord Almighty
Holy is the Lord!

Repeat chorus

Friday, October 24, 2008


The Rest of the Story, as Paul Harvey Would Say

I thought that last picture might pique your curiosity...

It's Friday afternoon, and we're leaving for Houston at 4:00.  So, I'm frantically trying to get packed and kind of clean the know, Mommy stuff.  Noble didn't sleep long this afternoon, but he was very excited to get down on the floor to play while Mommy ran around.  He started out in the living room with Kayci's Barbie computer...I heard it turn on, Barbie said hello and Noble said "BaBa!"  Oh Dear God, he said Barbie before Mommy.  We'll pretend like we didn't hear it, okay?

So, I have to keep a close eye on him because as soon as I turn my back, he does the electric slide.  The kid knows where ever exposed outlet is in the house (exposed as in not covered by furniture, we don't have open outlets you safety freaks).  Anyway, on our "to do" list this weekend is purchase & install the outlet covers that cover the entire outlet, plugs included.  (We gave our old ones away...never really needed them with Kayci, but that's another story.)  After he loses interest in Barbie (really, don't we all eventually?) he starts the slide, into the dining room.  I have to say, he's starting to respond to my "no!" when he gets too close to the water cooler outlet or the Roombas.  We do this for a few minutes, he scoots, I no, he smiles and tries to con me, I no, he retreats.  Finally, he makes me smile by retreating for good, into the hallway.  I'm done in the kitchen and ready to pack, so bedrooms seem to be a safe zone.   Here's what I found about 30 seconds after he entered Kayci's room--pardon the focus, but I grabbed my iphone and it has its limitations (but you didn't hear it from me!).  The first pic is actually him falling down when I walked in and surprised him.  Little Mr. Mischief didn't let a Mommy stand in his way for long...

You saw what happened next. I put him in the crib with some toys so I could finish packing. And by the way, Boy--here's something else for the list.

Mobile Noble, indeed.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The boy is a meat eater.

Yesterday Kristi, Noble and I had a picnic out on the hill behind our house at lunch time. Kristi had gone to our favorite barbecue place, Big Daddy's (not the same Big Daddy's that you find in Houston). I got a chicken baked potato and she got a rib plate (Big Daddy's has the best ribs I've ever eaten, by the way.) Noble was trying really hard to grab some food - any food - from the plate, so we handed him a rib to see what he would do.

The photos speak for themselves.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

All about Kayci

Kayci's forever saying, "let's put that on the blog."  Like you guys care about every single little thing that happens.  But here are a few special items that we just have to share...

1.  The Brenham Banner-Press:  We FINALLY started taking the paper.  I was way excited, too, about finally being plugged in to what's going on around town.  Well, the Banner-Press is a lot like the Iola Register...every police call is in there, etc.  It's definitely a small town paper!  As it turns out, that has its advantages.  Saturday morning we had to run back by the house to grab the laptop.  I noticed the paper was in the yard so I picked it up.  I planned to just recycle it, but for some reason opened it up and we all started looking through it.  On page 4, there was a big section called "Brenham ISD Student News."  A certain name caught my eye...

Krause Elementary School

We are all in Mrs. Bolcerek's class.  We know that if we be good and study hard and pay attention we can get to go on some field trips later this year.  We need to show respect too.  That is our character trait this month.  

Kindergarten sure is lots of fun!  There are so many fun things we do at school...

It goes on from there, but you get the gist.  Apparently (this is what I got from Kayci), Kayci and a couple of her friends "wrote" this with the lady in the computer lab.  The second sentence is all Kayci, but the rest is definitely obviously assisted.  But hey, she made the paper!  She will tell you this is the second time this year she's been in the paper--she SWEARS the back of her head was in a picture with Sparky the Fire Dog.  Daddy doesn't believe her, as the head in question was blond.  :)

2.  Kayci made a 100 on her first "real" spelling test!  

3.  Yesterday, Kayci got in the car all excited about them calling her name on the speaker.  I haven't talked to Mrs. Bolcerek yet to get details, but I think I understand that Kayci was chosen (it's a drawing) as a Star Student this week, so she gets her picture taken and gets to have lunch *on the stage!* with the administrators.  She's stoked!

4.  I got a work phone call yesterday just as we came in after school.  I normally don't take work calls at that time, but I really needed to hear what this teacher had to say.  Well, Kayci kept interrupting.  And interrupting.  And interrupting.  She wanted my attention, and she finally got it, and I was grumpy.  I sent her to her room to clean up (what she was supposed to be doing anyway!) and to give me a minute to just breathe and get over the grumpy.  Well, after she made her bed she came and asked if she could draw.  I said yes, and after a while she headed into our room with a piece of paper and tape.  To my pillow, she taped a picture of the two of us smiling, with red crayon hearts coming out of the Kayci drawing and heading toward the Mommy drawing.  It was very sweet, and touched my heart.  She had written "Im sore for bng so men."  (I'm sorry for being so mean.)  Aww...even if I was still mad at that point, no way could I have stayed that way!  She's either very sweet, or very smart.  Crap, she's both--we're in trouble!

5.  Last one...she was very excited today that she and a friend got to "water paint" during center time.   You can't really read it, but she wrote a sentence:  "I see a spider."  This one is already hanging up on Kayci's wall of fame in our office...she was so proud to show it off to Daddy.  :)  

Saturday, October 18, 2008

This Day in History...

It's Saturday, October 18th.  

One year ago today (it was a Wednesday, though), we found out that Noble was a...well, a Noble. :)  Remember the picture of Kayci with the big sister shirt, "it's a boy!" balloon and the knowing smile?  

Eleven years ago today, James proposed.  Come on, you remember...Senior year.  Let the Good Times Roll!  50 yard line, halftime...10 minutes later, I quit crying enough to say "yes!"  And the rest, as they say, is history.   I'll never forget at our rehearsal dinner, Dad telling about standing there talking to some guy, the punchline of "the funny thing is, that's my daughter."  

Today in the car one of us said, "do you know what happened one year ago today?"  And Kayci, God love her, would have brought me to my knees if I hadn't been sitting already.  She said, "If the kids left for Taiwan one year ago today, that means they could come home today."  Soon enough, Bitty, soon enough.  

Here's a quick pic of the littlest Bearkat...I'm sure Daddy will post some pics of the kids with Sammy.  

Thursday, October 16, 2008


This is definitely worth mentioning in the blog, for those of you who know me well.   Noble & I went to College Station to deposit my paychecks and pick up some fall clothes for the family.  First we went to Old Navy and found tons of stuff that I liked, but I restrained myself and bought just a few basics for Noble.  Then, we went over to Target and...wait for it...spent NOTHING.  Didn't buy anything--not even from the $ spot.  I know, I know, I can't believe it myself.  

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Breakfast party!

The cupboards are bare, and Daddy wasn't around this morning, so Bitty and I decided that we'd get around early and go to the donut store before I took her to school this morning.   We left with plenty of time to spare (very rare occurrence around here) and headed over.  The first thing we noticed was Jennifer's truck in the parking lot, which meant that Savannah and Jessica were inside.  Kayci restrained herself, though, and didn't jump out until the car actually stopped.  (Kidding, kidding, we're very safe.  Well, we try--don't want to tempt fate.)  Anyway, we ended up having breakfast with the Scheffler's, then Jennifer & Rachel came in, then the Headleys.  It was a lot of fun--an unexpected little gathering in the middle of the week.  The best part for Kayci?  Lydia and Rachel loaded up and rode to school with us.  It really is the little things in life...

This morning I'm grateful for our little life, and the little things, and for being able to be happy and grateful for the little things.  :)  

Monday, October 13, 2008

Ain't that a kick in the...head

Kayci would like to tell you about tonight's soccer game:

"I fell down but I was alright for 2 seconds.  All the sudden I got kicked in the head!  I had to go sit down because it hurt.  The game went good.  Except when I got kicked in the head.  We losed...lost.  We took snack today.  Ooh, and can I have my snack now?"

Mommy's unabridged version:

I knew we were sunk when I walked to our regular spot to spread out, and there was a banner in my way.  I thought, who are all of these people if there's only one other Red Hot here?  Well, it was the opposing team.  We'll call them the Pros.  They had a flippin' banner--seriously, and it's all downhill from there.  Once I realized it wasn't, in fact, an advertisement (thought that was odd for U6 soccer), I clued in to the fact that some overzealous soccer mom had a freakin' banner printed with the team name and all of the girls' names.  2 color banner, y'all, with prismatic--these people are hard core.  I felt like Ralphie, when the hubcap with the nuts & bolts goes I walked around the field to where our sad little team would sit, all I heard in my head was "oh, fuuuuuudge."  

After I got everyone settled on the loser's side, I sat back and took inventory.  If you're not familiar with Brenham soccer, everyone gets standard-issue black shorts and then a team color jersey and colored socks.  So that's what our team wears.  Not these little Hamms...they all had--no lie--matching monogrammed soccer backpacks, matching hair ties, monogrammed shorts (not the standard-issues, either), and special practice jerseys over their regular jerseys.  The practice jerseys had their team name, the girls' names, and the kicker:  on the back, each girl had several soccer ball appliques in assorted colors.  They were obviously symbolic, so I asked the coach (who does this purely for fun, you know) what they meant.  Each color was a different achievement, from attendance to goals to defense.  You know the Kristi in me was impressed as these 8 little dynamos lined a straight line...and went through their pre-game drills like a well-oiled machine.  Our 2, no 3, wait, there's 4 girls went out and attempted to look alive, but it was sadly apparent that we had no pre-game drill.  Coach did manage to whip them into a line and get them to kick the ball, so the Bad News Bears weren't all bad news.  

But then the game started--3 on 3 instead of 4 on 4, because we're down to 6 players, when they all show up--and we didn't even have enough players there to rotate 3 at a time, so the girls had to play more than they're used to.  I have to say--our 5 girls, even the sick one--ran their hearts out and spent a good game in control of the ball.  They fought for it, man.  I overheard Jenna saying, "I like the feet fight!"  And she's right--that big ol' cluster of girls, all kicking for the's a feet fight, all right.  Tonight our girls did a great job of playing together, fighting for the ball, controlling the ball, and getting the ball down the field.  Next week, we'll work on kicking it in the goal.  But I was darn proud watching how far they've come since last week!  

As far as the kick in the head:  the previous author has taken some creative liberty in the retelling of this incident.  Kayci tripped over the ball in a feet fight, and went down on her knees.  A big ol' girl on the other team was already running and couldn't stop in time, so she pretty well ran over Bitty.  Her foot did strike the back of Kayci's neck, but it was a glancing blow.  Kayci got up immediately and shook it off, no tears or drama of any kind!  It was a water break anyway, so the girls were sent off the field to's not like she was so badly injured she couldn't play anymore.  :)  But her version is more exciting, can't wait to hear what she tells 'em at school tomorrow.  Is it wrong that she's more excited about getting kicked in the head than about scoring a goal last week?  Wait, don't answer that.  

So, Pros, you got us.  You creamed Kayci said, like, 54-1.  (Maybe more like 9, we lost count.)  But our girls had fun, and the way they ran through the line at the end, you'd think they'd won the World Cup.  Sometimes playing the game is its own reward...well, that and the crackers at the end.  So play on, Red Hots, play on.  Win or lose, we'll be rooting for you!  

And Pros, there's room for both kinds of team in the girls had fun tonight, and you played well.  In the end, that's all that matters.  It just goes to show, I saw the banner and the jerseys and the well, stuff, and jumped to the conclusion that the Pros were in it to win it, not play.  I apologize for jumping to conclusions.  But I don't apologize for making fun of all your crap.  Seriously...U6 soccer, not Brazilian national futbol team.