Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Letter to a Friend

Dear friend,
It's hard not to wonder who you are or why you would choose to bless our family in such an amazing, generous way.  We have prayed quite a bit since the bank called with your good news the other day, and we know now that the "who" and the "why" are not important.  It's the "what" you've done that has already blessed us beyond imagining.  Your generosity is staggering, and our prayer for you is that you will be blessed greatly for your kindness (actually, we believe that to be true already...God's amazing that way!).  We pray this brings you great joy each time you remember this kind act.  I doubt you will let us repay you, but know that we will do the same someday in your honor.  We will keep you in our thoughts and prayers.
James, Kristi, Kayci & Noble Pharaon

Two days ago, almost to the hour, I was sitting in this very same spot, working on this very same computer.  The phone rang.

It was a local bank (we don't currently bank there).  I was very confused, and the sweet lady very happily told me that someone who would like to remain anonymous would like to open up a savings account for each of our children.  Just because he (or she!) thinks so highly of them, she said.

We have prayed quite a bit about whether or not to share this.  It's crazy, right?

But think of all the crazy, wonderful, generous people we know.  You are all capable of this...we are blessed with wonderful friends and family.  My gut says it's someone we know here in Brenham, and my heart hopes that it's someone I get to hug on a regular basis and that I will have the opportunity to serve you again and again.  Then again, I could be wrong.  It really doesn't matter who you are...that's what my mind keeps circling around to.

You know I wished I could write a quick, elegant and eloquent thank you...that didn't happen.  It's a mess.  I could write PAGES and PAGES of thankful thoughts to you, dear friend, and I hope to be able to put this down on paper someday when my brain is not spinning quite so much.  I finally quit trying, and just wrote what was in my heart.  Well, what I could fit on the page.  I totally threw in a PS page, too, because I'm me.

As for me, I pray you're someone who's reading this, and who knows that we do not take this lightly.  I pray that you'll be blessed beyond imagining for what you're doing for our children...but I suspect you already have been.  I hope this brings you endless joy and delight.  And I hope that anyone who's reading this will follow your example and give...and then give some more.  I hope our friends and family will continue to give freely, generously, often...and remember you as they do.  

And of course, to remember the One who gave all.  

As for us, we'll keep spreading the word that amazing people do exist, and we know at least one.  

Thank you, dear friend.  

Monday, March 26, 2012

Before & After

We had the pleasure of assisting a gardener friend (I use the word "assist" very loosely here) at school today. For his help & patience, Noble got to make his first sprinkler run of the season!

Afterwards, we came home & changed his clothes, then I headed to the shower. This is what I saw when I walked out...

Friday, March 23, 2012

Bluebonnicator: March 23, 2012

The flowers are great out there!  The weather is great out there!  If you're planning on getting out to see some bluebonnets, you won't have to look very long or hard - they're everywhere!

There are some great field along 290 on the way to Brenham.  One of the best is just after the Brazos river bridge after the Washington County sign.  There are also some AMAZING fields on the right just before Chappell Hill and on the left near Winkelmann, Texas (the place that looks like a ghost town just before Brenham.)

Get outside this weekend and enjoy some fresh air and take some photos of the kids!

This week the Bluebonnicator is at 85%!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bluebonnicator Report - March 15, 2012

What a difference a couple of weeks and some good rain makes!  Two weeks ago, the flowers were sparse, but now they're coming up almost everywhere you look!  Some really good, thick patches are starting to develop and they're getting thick enough now to start taking pictures of the kids in.

I still haven't seen any whole fields of either bluebonnets or Indian paint brushes yet, but after the good rain the Brenham and Washington County area had in the past week, it can't be long now.  In addition, there are some great other colored flowers, too, such as deep purples, lavenders and LOTS of yellow flowers.

The flowers are starting to get really good, so start planning that family trip to get out and see them.

This week's Bluebonnicator stands at 50%.

This would be a good time to remind everyone about some general guidelines:

1. Don't trample the bluebonnets. Try to step only in the areas between the bluebonnet plants. It might require you to what I call "the bluebonnet hop", butit will keep the plants looking great for everyone.

2. Don't pick the bluebonnets. Period. Get some seeds off the bottom of the plant instead and grow your own! Besides, it's against the law to pick the bloom.

3. Don't go romping through people's yards and fields to take pictures without permission. It really, really makes the locals mad when "city folks" come up and go on quarter mile hikes into their pastures to take their family's picture in the bluebonnets. It's private property, and it's just rude. Most times, if you'll just ask permission it will be okay, but there are plenty of great photo opportunities on public land. The state makes sure of that.

4. Watch out for fire ants! The same kind of soil that is great for growing bluebonnets is also prime for fire ants. Watch out! [and watch out for snakes, too!]

5. Ask a local. As I said before, there a lot of great photo places to take your family's photo in bluebonnets. And a lot of them are very easily accessible, but might not be able to be seen from the highway. Ask a local where some great shots can be had as you buy some Blue Bell ice cream or a sandwich or an antique from their shop.

6. Don't cross a fence. I've heard a lot of stories since we moved up here about tourists crossing fences. Some stories involve getting chased by bulls, some involve broken fences and some involve animals getting loose. But every one of the stories involved trespassing and ticked off the land owner. I've been guilty of this in the past - I admit it - but now I know better, and I'm letting you all know, as well.

7. Have a great time, outdoors. Get outside and enjoy the spring air and the sunshine. You can't see the bluebonets from your living room couch, folks. Unless you live in Brenham, that is. ;)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Noble's 4th Bird-Day Party!

Noble's 4th birthday party was last Friday.  We did something very different this year--we only invited his school friends.  It was a hard decision, but our parties get SO big between our family & friends & you know, the birthday kid's friends...this seemed like the right thing to do so we could focus on Noble.  We still had 34 people at the party with the rain and all, so I'm glad we cut down the guest list.  :)  The important thing?  The birthday boy had a blast...and really, nothing else matters!

I don't have a lot of words...we've been actively planning since December, and prepping stuff for weeks.  Ironically, the things we started longest ago were the things we finished up just hours before the party--the pig cans.  :)  Would I do it all over again?  You betcha--this was FUN!

When he opened presents the day after the party, Noble unwrapped a couple of the Angry Birds balls that WalMart put out recently...we had to laugh.  The ones Daddy made are pretty awesome, though! 

I resisted the urge to make banners for every window and fill the room with balloons (although these 15 went a long way!)...we left the windows open and just put a pig on each window sill.  Easy peasy!

I can't share this enough:  the balloon printables are from an awesome blogger--!

Favors were easy:  golden eggs filled with one of Noble's favorite treats, fruit snacks.  I was pretty proud of my restraint, actually!

I was so proud of Bubby:  we went to a party a few weeks ago and as we walked in he said, "I hope (birthday boy) hugs me!"  I don't know where he got that idea, and the birthday boy didn't come up and hug him, but I told Bubby if he would like to be treated that way, I bet his friends would, too.  Over the past couple of weeks we revisited this several times, and sure enough, Noble welcomed his guests and took them around and showed them the games as they arrived.  I was so proud!

I put the art activity in as a throw-down in case a bunch of his girl classmates showed up...but I think everyone made at least one bird.  I was surprised!  Now, I don't know how many birds actually made it home with kids...

Think he's happy?  :)

Things got a little messy as the party went on...but wasn't that the point?  

I loved, loved the banners this year--I saw several online and intended to do a typical triangle pennant banner...then I saw this blog and fell in love with the simplicity and the POP! of color.  Thanks for the idea!  

I had a blast playing with Noble's friends, and it turns out, for most of the games a high-five was all the prize they needed.  Man, I love preschoolers!

Picking the perfect cupcake...

And blowing out the "4" candle!

Kathy Ford gets full credit for the cupcakes--she did a great job!  We kept some of them plain because there's always someone who doesn't like icing...and we had the idea to throw eggs on the chocolate ones so the kids could easily identify chocolate and vanilla.  And they ate the HECK out of the leftover eggs...I didn't know kids like Cadbury Mini Eggs that much!

Things got a little rowdy...

We pulled out some group games a couple of times to calm down the rowdy kiddos.  

The aftermath.  :)  

At the end of the night, I think it's safe to say:  a good time was had by all.  Happy 4, Bubby!  

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Happy 4, Big Man

Happy 4th Birthday (sorry- Bird-day) to our big little man, Noble.

Can it be that it's really already been four years that he's been with us, yet still feel like it's only been four years?  It feels as if he's always been a part of our little family.  We can't imagine our lives without him.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Bluebonnicator: March 2

It's the return of the Bluebonnicator!

The Bluebonnicator is designed to tell you how the bluebonnets (and the equally awesome Indian Paintbrushes) are looking before you hop in the car and drive more than an hour only to find that you should've wait a couple more weeks.

So without further ado:

The bluebonnets are starting to pop up in and around Brenham.  The great rain we got in February has really made everything green, and the warm temperatures in the past week have started bringing out the wildflowers a little.

The flowers patches that we've seen still aren't picture worthy, unless you want to take pictures of your kids behind just one or two flowers.  And what's interesting is that the flowers aren't popping up yet in some of the places where they are traditionally the best.  Where we've seen them are in people's yards (and a really great patch in the sand volleyball court at the Brenham aquatic center (which isn't open yet.)

Best to wait a couple of weeks before planning that wildflower photo trip as this week, the Bluebonnicator reads only: