Sunday, May 31, 2009

We're Back Home.....

Hello, bloggy friends!!! Logan and I are back home, and I am snug in my bed! We had been in Scottsdale, Arizona since Thursday with Dickey and Cinda. We had gone there for the boys to go to the Scottsdale Center for Dentistry for continuing education and some other teeth related stuff! We had so much fun!! We stayed at the Fairmont Scottsdale, a huge resort on a PGA golf course. The landscaping in Phoenix/Scottsdale this time of year was amazing---huge bougainvilleas everywhere (top picture), massive pride of Barbados (bottom two pictures), and awesome palms and dutch irises. (I am such a gardening nerd!) I have some pictures to show you what I'm talking about....
Speaking of plants: Logan, Dickey and I went jogging on Friday morning, and we found a Meyer lemon tree near the golf course. A quick lesson on Meyer lemons: they are HUGE, usually bigger than the size of a softball, and very sweet. Most gourmet foods containing lemon specifically use Meyer lemons. If you've never had a Meyer lemon, you are missing out on life. And unless you have your own plant--you can buy them at your local nursery--you can't often find them to buy. They have an extremely soft skin for lemons and are relatively fragile, so supermarkets rarely carry them. Whole Foods or Central Market will get them once in a while, but that's it. However, they can grow easily in Arizona because they love the arid climate, hot weather, and acidic soil. ANYWAY, I got on this ledge and stuck my hand through a thorny bougainvillea to get several of the lemons. So by that time, Dickey, Logan and I were jogging with our hands full. We found a green belt behind some gorgeous homes, and went back there to jog. We found a HUGE grapefruit tree, dropping pinkish-orange grapefruit on the ground. We gathered some and got a few more off of a LOADED DOWN tree. When we got back to the hotel, we had some of the best grapefruit in our lives.... NO JOKE. It was very sweet with a tiny bit of tart. (My mouth is watering right now just writing about it....) I have vowed to buy a grapefruit tree the next time I see one.
That was Friday morning. The boys went golfing and Cinda and I hung out by the pool. It was absolutely beautiful but HOT!!!! I went up to the room later to do some homework on my computer, and then we went down for dinner at a wonderful restaurant at the resort with all local grown, organic produce and hormone-free meat. My kind of restaurant! On Saturday, the boys had a dental thing all day, while Cinda and I went to the Fairmont's spa, the Willow Bend. It was incredible and smelled wonderful.... Cinda and I went and put the spa's big plush terry robes on and went to sit in the waiting room. We were both scheduled for massages first. They called my name. "Courtney?" There was only me, Cinda, and another woman in the waiting room at the time, so I got up for the appointment. The woman took me back to a massage room and I noticed there wasn't the layer of blankets on the table. I'll spare you the extra details, but the woman thought I was there for an "undercarriage" wax! I'm sure my eyes bugged out when I knew I was in the wrong room!
She asked, "Are you Courtney [some French last name starting with an "M"] ?"
"No 'mam, I am not." (I started laughing.....) "I am scheduled for the relaxation massage...."
"Oh--I'm so sorry, Mrs. Stanley....."
My massage was great, and then Cinda and I got a pedicure. While hers was finishing up, I went in the "inhalation room" (yes, there really is such a place) to read "The Shack," which is awesome. I'm halfway through. Cinda and I then went in the steam room, which was torturous, but smelled heavenly (eucalyptus). We then ate lunch in our robes (very good, but all spa food is for those women who only consume like 500 calories per day!) and went up to the spa pool and napped. AHH-- the everyday life of a stay-at-home mom.


However, I was really missing my pookie bear. I will see him and Zoey on Tuesday at Mom and Dad's. Logan is really missing him, too, and wanted to travel to get him right when we landed today. However, I have to finish painting our bedroom tomorrow. Yes---begun painting probably 2 months ago, and have yet to finish. Let's face it: it's impossible to paint with a 2 year old, unless you do it after his bedtime. And by that time, I am already WIPED OUT.....
Anyway, Logan and I finished up our trip last night by ordering lamb burgers with cucumber and tziki and duck fat fries with truffle oil and aioli (yes, that is correct, and YES---they were really the best fries I've ever had) down at the pool. We then had a 'smores cheesecake with toasted marshmallows on top. It was very good, as well... Thankfully, it was dark outside and hardly anyone was at the pool, because my stomach was pooching BIG TIME after all of that food! And was Logan's? Of course not!!!!
Our little trip was a blast and we had a great time with the in-laws and a great time together, just Logan and me. I definitely want to go back sometime to that resort because I felt like a princess! (However, if we don't secure a Patterson Dental discount rate again, I'm sure that won't be happening!)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Awesome YouTube...

My parents had told me how great this YouTube clip was, and I finally watched it. It is awesome!!! Please watch!! God makes His presence known everywhere, even in our cellular protein!!

Memorial Day Weekend Catch-Up.....

Hello, everyone! I feel like it has been FOREVER since I last checked in.... Some weeks I do better than others on keeping up... Anyway....

This last week, I have really begun to notice Weiss growing up. It seemed just out of nowhere, if that makes any sense... (???) He is forming longer sentences, making more observations about the world around him, and although he was fun before, I think he is even more fun now! I am able to explain things in more detail to him because he will ask questions, or say something that has that "question" tone to it in his voice so I am able to explain something to him. It is amazing to see him retain information! How kiddos learn totally amazes me!

Weiss is also getting more of his own opinion. I love it because just this week, he started something REALLY cute. If you ask him to do _____ and he doesn't want to, he'll say, "No. Thank you, though!" I think it is absolutely adorable. He loves to talk to other people, and I love going in a store/restaurant and seeing him wave and talk to other people. It is so neat to see an older person smile or someone who might look a bit gruff smile back or say something after Weiss waves or talks. And of course, I know this is just not MY child, but kids in general. It is so cool to see how people change when a child touches their heart! I'm a proud mama!

Now that our activities have slowed down, we've been spending more time around our house and at the lake. At first, I was missing the activities, but it is really nice because we don't have to be anywhere and I am not as stressed. I am taking the time to do more spontaneous things and not follow a schedule so much. For example, if Weiss wants to read a book when I am stepping out of the shower, before I would tell him to wait. Now, I'll just sit down and read with a wet towel on my head. Ahh----the joys of not having to be anywhere at all!

However, Friday, I wanted to catch my last MOPS at CBC in San Antonio. As much as I love it and LOVE all of the people and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE CBC, I have to stop going next year. Not only is the drive a bit long now--I get up at 5:30 on MOPS mornings and haul Weiss out of bed at 6:45 (he's a good sport about it)--but I have to wean myself off of CBC. I equate it to an addict: I go to CBC, get my "hit," and have withdrawals for several days--or even weeks--afterwards. I get to where I don't enjoy the church we are attending here, and I just want to be at CBC with my old friends and everything that I was comfortable with there! (Don't get me wrong, "new" friends: you know I love you!!!)

However, I will still be listening in to Robert and Chris Emmitt on the CBC podcast, people!!! And I will still be checking in on you CBC people on Facebook and the blogs (Katie, Aimee, Denisse, Clarissa, Mandy and Bre'Anna)! And we will make the occassional trip to San Antonio to catch a service--PRAISE THE LORD for Saturday worship!!!

So Weiss and I hauled ourselves out of bed and drove in to San Antonio by 8 AM on Friday. We even got Starbucks on the way out of Marble Falls, we were so early! I hit up SuperTarget on 281 before MOPS. MOPS was great, as usual, and Amy Gilbert shared her AWESOME testimony. She is an AMAZING speaker with an amazing story, complete with miracles only God can perform! After MOPS, Weiss and I went to Marshall's, my OTHER favorite place! We hit the motherload for boy's clothes! He got some awesome clothes that would regularly cost an arm and a leg! But not at Marshall's! We drove very fast over to The Painted Plate to get a pitcher I had painted that had been there since LAST SUMMER--when we lived in San Antonio--and it was finally fired and finished. Weiss and I then did a literal "happy dance" because we went to---wait for it----CHICK-FIL-A!!!!

We ate and then Weiss played, but we had to leave the play area prematurely because a poor little girl peed in the top. Yes, folks, that's right. Weiss--thankfully--had come down to see me sitting on the bench watching him, so he was not in the play yard at the time of the, well, downpour. The little girl peed at the top of the platforms the kiddos crawl up to get to the top of the playscape and it dropped all the way to the floor (Yes, I know it's gross). And what is so bizarre is right before it happened, I was wondering, "How many kiddos have peed or puked in this thing?" However, kudos goes out to Chick-Fil-A, because they keep their play scapes clean and have Purell wipees by the door....

On Saturday, Lexy and I got up to run 6 miles.... We did it with no stops this time!!! We are slowly getting in the groove again!!!! Weiss and Logan headed out to the lake, and I stayed and did some homework. I met them out at the lake, and Justin, Ashley and Sydney White had driven in from San Angelo. They were all basking out in the sun on this GINORMOUS floatie that literally held probably up to 8 people. Dickey and Cinda (my in-laws), Logan, Weiss, Justin, Ashley, Sydney and myself all fit comfortably on the float with much room to spare! However, there was a lot of wake due to the boats, and I started getting nauseated.... (Everyone else was fine. And NO--I don't need to take a pregnancy test... I get motion sickness much easier since I have had Weiss. I used to never feel nauseated from cars or motion, but now I do...)

We ate a great meal and the kiddos played. Sydney is walking now and is super cute! And Weiss was a sweet boy and played with her. Logan and Weiss stayed out at the lake house and I went back home to do some more homework. I got up and played on Sunday, and then went straight home to do MORE homework. I finished around 6 PM.... LOTS of homework this last week. Logan, Justin, Ashley and the kiddos came to pick me up from the house on their way back from Troy and Linda Fraser's surprise anniversary party. I hated to miss, but I had to have my work done by 12 PM eastern time....

We all stayed the night out at the lake house on Sunday. Monday morning was a LAZY day.... Weiss had slept between Logan and me on the sofa bed, and he is one CRAZY sleeper... At one point, his feet were by my ears! We all had some fun in the water, and Justin, Ashley and Syd left late afternoon. Dickey, Cinda, Logan, Weiss and I then took the boat up the lake. It was Weiss's first time out this season, so he was a bit scared. Logan got out in the tube first, and Weiss told Dickey, who was driving the boat, "Be careful with Daddy, Grappa!" (He calls Dickey and Cinda "Grappa" and "Mia.") When Dickey was out skiing, Weiss said, "Be careful with Grappa, Daddy!" My father-in-law was a competitive trick skiier through college, and so he can do all kinds of crazy tricks. He has a special harness that goes on his foot so he can have the ski rope attached to his foot rather than holding it. (He skis on one ski, while the ski rope is connected to the other foot that is in the air. CRAZY!) Because of this, when he falls/lets go, someone has to immediately "pull the pin" to release the tension from the rope, because his foot is tethered in the harness. So it IS kind of nerve-wracking to watch him!

We pulled over to a sandy beach and Weiss had a blast! He played, but because the sun was beginning to go down, he had to get back in the boat. He was NOT happy about that! Logan and I have not decided where we want to go this year on our family vacation, but I am pretty positive that after Weiss's newfound love for the sand, we will be going to somewhere there is a nice beach and water!

Weiss was so tired coming back in that he fell asleep sitting up in his lifejacket in the boat. He was pooped. (It's funny how you're always so much more tired after going to the lake.... I never have really understood that!) We got home and all went to bed!!!!

Today has been a catch up/clean up day for us. Weiss and I went to the library, to Walmart and HEB. We were still both recovering from the lake today because we took a nap from 2 to 5:30!!!!! Crazy, I know....

Tomorrow, my mom (LuLu) and a friend (Becky Rynders) are coming to pickup Weiss and Zoey because Logan, Dickey, Cinda and I are going to Scottsdale, Arizona for the weekend. We leave Thursday and return Sunday. The boys have some dental stuff to do; it's a dental gathering of some sort. Cinda and I have nothing to do, so we are going to get pedicures and a massage and spend the day at the spa! And we have both picked out books to read at the pool, which is supposed to be super-luxe! I'm going to try to work out when I'm there because I'm sure the facilities will be nice! And of course, there will be good eating. So I will try to check in this weekend, but no guarantees!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Summer Lovin'.....

Hello, Everyone! As I sit here, Weiss and I are pretty soaked. We had a little "water fight" today. I watered my plants and beds in the front of the house with a shower hose, and Weiss decided to soak me when it was his turn. So--I got revenge on my 2-year-old. Unmerciful, I know....

This week, all activities have really slowed down. Don't get me wrong: I love the summer and all of the activities associated with it, but since our normal routine is changing for the summer, I am somewhat sad. (Less social time for me; Bible studies are ending for the summer, et cetera). However, there will be more time for the fun summer stuff, like yesterday: Weiss and I went down to the lake and played in the water. It's so nice to hop in the jogging stroller and just go. We'll also probably be venturing into Austin more, and also to the pool, just so I won't go nuts--and Weiss, too!!! Our library is doing a summer reading program, and we may get involved with that. And if anyone knows of a good snowcone stand around here, let me know!!! (You know--the really good shaved ice, not the crunchy stuff.) Weiss has yet to experience the bliss of a sticky snowcone.

We had to get up early this morning because I got a FLAT yesterday. I went to register Weiss for preschool next year at FBC, and noticed my car's warning light was on. I didn't know exactly what was wrong: was it squirrels--AGAIN--like in San Antonio? (For those of you that didn't know, a squirrel in San Antonio did $1200 worth of electrical damage to my car, TWO WEEKS IN A ROW. Apparently the squirrel only had an acquired taste a la Nissan Murano, because no one else's car in the neighborhood was "eaten." And I'm talking NOT driveable, folks. I did some research, and apparently, certain models of car insulation parts are made of soy derivatives---NO WONDER he liked the flavor.) Nothing was this dramatic this time. Just a roofing nail. And of course---there are roofers EVERYWHERE in our neighborhood, still cleaning up from the huge hailstorm two months ago.

I returned home, and noticed my tire was rather low. So Logan filled it up this morning to get me to Jimbo's, the guy who has worked on my car. I had to take Weiss because Daddy had to go to work. We then drove out to Horseshoe Bay to have a playdate with Noah, Karen and David Cotrell's grandson, who was in town for the week. They had fun together; Noah told me he was a dinosaur/tiger, while Weiss was a dog. They chased each other around and played cars. We read a few books, while Karen and I attempted to visit. We had a great time, and Noah is a cutie. When I got there, Karen came to the door with her hair in a towel, and Noah was in his PJs. It was cute. She told me he had a few meltdowns, and she had lots of phone calls, so she had a hard time getting ready. (Very relatable. The story of one's life with a small child.) I brought my camera, and did I take any pictures? I am ashamed. Anyway, the boys had fun, and we plan to get them together the next time he is in town.

On a random note, we are blessed to have a little nature experiment in our front yard. Mom and Dad brought two Topsy-Turvy tomato plant kits down, and I planted tomato plants in them, hanging them upside down on a big stake in the yard. The tops of the planters--where you water the plants--are waist high. Apparently, a bird made a nest in one of them. She has added an egg each day or so. Now there are FIVE eggs! It's so cool because we can get really close to her and the eggs, and Weiss will really get to see these birds up close. So pray for health for the birds; Weiss wants to check out the eggs all of the time, and I have explained there will be baby birds soon. And pray for NO CATS, raccoons, anything to eat the little birds. The Topsy-Turvy planter feels like a safe place for the birds, and hopefully nothing can get to them. Weiss has big expectations now.......

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Austin Zoo, Whole Foods, POTTY!!!!!

Hello, all! I have been lazy about blogging this past week. Not that I have been super busy, but I have kindof taken a hiatus from the computer. I had been on so much the past few weeks for my finals in my class, and of course, I would blog more because I found myself "stalling" and making every excuse in the world not to do my work!!!! But that class is over, I am beginning a new one, and so that means this first week is really introductory and doesn't require alot of computer time, just reading.


On Wednesday, Hannah, the girls, Weiss and I went in to the Austin Zoo. It was hot and windy on Wednesday--kind of like west Texas (seriously)! The Austin Zoo was waaaayyy out in the boonies; it was not in the center of town like you would normally picture a city zoo, or in a location you would expect. However, there were lions, tigers, bears, giant tortoises, several varieties of monkeys and birds and a small petting zoo area with farm animals, and it was worth seeing. However, it was NOT stroller friendly at all. Poor Hannah had to navigate the double stroller, and I had my "good" stroller (not the jogger or the umbrella)....It does great on most terrain, but even this zoo stumped it. There was NO pavement whatsoever, just white caliche with craggy rocks and steep trails in some places. And of course, the wind was blowing, so the nice white dust from the caliche was in the air..... YUCK!!! The kiddos did enjoy it, and although it wasn't my favorite zoo, I will be back for Weiss's sake. Weiss had a good time holding Sophia's hand and talking about the cute!

We then all went to our favorite, Chick-Fil-A to eat and play. Weiss did not want to leave the playground; he was having too much fun! Little Gabriella is a daredevil and was climbing right up the playscape with no problem at all! (Weiss was very timid at her age...)

Weiss and I then went in to downtown Austin while Hannah went shoe shopping in Bee Cave at the Hill Country Galleria for the girls. We went to the Whole Foods flagship/original store on 6th Street, and it was a BLAST!!! (I am already making plans to go back on Monday or Tuesday.....) It was so much fun; who knew I would want to drive an hour to get groceries? They even have a clothing section!!! AWESOME!!! As always, Weiss and I walked out with lots of cool, great tasting, unique and healthy food! Logan goes there nearly every week after work, picks up a few groceries and eats, and I am so jealous now of what I've been missing out on!!! It is truly an experience; a hundred times better than the Whole Foods and Central Markets I am used to!

Oh---Logan brought the BEST dairy-free beverage home last week, and when I was there, I loaded up on more.... It is called "So Delicious Coconut Milk." I think only Whole Foods carries it, because I have never seen it anywhere else. He got the vanilla flavor, and it is like melted ice cream with a hint of coconut..... HEAVEN!!!! I got the carton and would just lean back and chug it.... We went through a half gallon in less then 24 hours, courtesy of ME.... So when I go back later this week, I am going to buy about 3 cartons to last....

Thursday morning, I had my last Mom to Mom of the year. We had a special brunch for Karen Cotrell, who is one of the mentor moms in the program and also my Sunday School teacher (along with her husband). If you don't know her or already know the situation, she had a rare form of breast cancer nine years ago. (In fact, the cancer is so rare, Susan G. Komen was not aware of it....) She had a radical mastectomy and endured chemotherapy and radiation. They did not expect her to make it through the first time. She is truly a miracle.

Unfortunately, Karen's cancer is back---inoperable stage IV cancer, now in her lungs and lymph nodes. PLEASE pray for this amazing, precious woman! She is an inspiration in her walk with Christ and she has such an effervescent, fun-loving personality. She loves to give back to others and is the epitome of a servant for Christ.... Pray, Pray, PRAY! Her husband, David, is starting a foundation in her name, and there will be a benefit for her in October that I will update you all about here on my blog. It will be something everyone can get involved with, as well, to allow the world to know about her rare and aggressive form of breast cancer. I'll keep you posted....

Anyway, we just used the brunch to visit and to build Karen up before her first treatment, which was Thursday. Her potassium levels were low, and the docs were not thinking she could have her treatment Thursday, but she was able to have the drug, and she also was placed in a clinical trial for another drug. If you don't mind, send some prayers up to God remembering Karen and David Cotrell....

I had given up on the potty training bit. Thursday before lunch, though, Weiss decided he needed to use the potty. I went in the bathroom, and he was tugging at his diaper to get it off. He sat himself down on his potty, and went NUMBER ONE AND TWO!!! Man, I jumped around and did a happy dance, and he got to put a potty training sticker on his Elmo Potty Chart! I made happy phone calls to brag on him! However, he didn't do it the rest of the day. He only goes when HE wants to.

Anyway, yesterday, Weiss and I ran errands--mainly for M&Ms to potty train, taught piano and then I had to play for a funeral at FBC. Logan had been volunteering at FBC's community dental clinic, so he watched Weiss when I was playing. (Thanks, hon!) I think it's great they have a community dental clinic here; all of the local dentists and assistants rotate to help those in the community. When Logan got in from work (he worked at their office in the afternoon), we both left Weiss with Kaili and went in to Bee Caves to eat at Rosie's Tamale House. It was good!!!! I loved the verde sauce on the enchildadas; very fresh and tasty! We then went to see the movie I have been anxiously waiting for: Angels and Demons! I loved the book, and I loved the Da Vinci Code, and the movie is worth seeing. Of course, folks, its something that you enjoy as FICTION and take with a grain of salt, if you will. (All of these nutcases who blow the Da Vinci Code out of proportion.... Take it for what it is: a FICTIONAL tale!) And this one is even more fictional than the Da Vinci Code, because the Pope didn't have any problems with anyone watching it after he recently viewed Angels and Demons..... Anyway, I'm stepping OFF my soapbox now!

We got home, and Kaili said Weiss went number 1 and 2 for her, as well! Once again, he has to decide when HE does it.... (Stubborn kiddo, but we all love him!!!)

This morning, Logan went kayaking with Kacey Burns (Hannah's hubby) and then Lexy and I went running. Five miles felt like TEN, and we didn't even run it all. We mainly caught back up, chitchatting. However, we will get back in the saddle again, folks! Now Logan and I are chilling, watching one of his favorite movies, the "Shawshank Redemption...." Ahh---I love lazy Saturdays!!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Weiss: 1, Mommy: 0

All aboard the potty train....choo choo!!!!

(If only it were that easy.....haha)

Weiss has shown many signs of readiness for potty training, but he is quite stubborn. With a stubborn Mommy and Daddy, he's sure to be EXTRA stubborn. Last night, Logan and I decided we would put him to bed in a Pull-Up. He threw the biggest fit, and Logan had to come help me get the Pull-Up on his little body because he was thrashing around so much. Unfortunately, Weiss had to be disciplined in the process, but amidst the tears and ridiculous crying, we got the training pants on. He kept saying, "I like the Elmo diapers, Mommy!!! I want the Elmo diaper!!!" (Pampers makes diapers with Sesame Street, and he wanted his old diaper.)

This morning, I sat my alarm to get up before Weiss. He has been waking up unusually early lately. I woke him up, and we went immediately to the potty.

We sat......and sat. Daddy made some juice because Weiss had been on so long....

EIGHT books later---and these weren't short ones, people---he finally peed.

YEAH!!!!!!! He really didn't think it was that big of a deal, just like he did the first time he went. We danced around, we high-fived, we went crazy.....

"We" being Logan and me.

So we put Weiss's Elmo underwear on him. He threw a fit and wanted the Elmo diaper---AGAIN---but we finally got his underoos on him. Logan and I walked back to our bedroom, and Weiss ran in, streaking, without his pants, laughing.

(Although you try not to laugh at them and remain serious, it is hard at times.....)

Logan left for work. Weiss and I wanted to go for our daily outing. So I got ready and put a giant beach towel in the jogging stroller. I put cotton shorts on Weiss so he could "feel" if he decided to go pee. We were out for almost an hour walking/jogging, and no pee. (At this point, I was a proud mommy. I was thinking this potty training business was all overrated; it was going to be a piece of cake.) We got home, and I wanted to sit him on the potty. (It had been about an hour and a half, with 2 big cups of watered down juice!) NO. He told me he did NOT want to sit on the potty.


So I hop in the shower. I get out to dry, and Weiss runs in the bathroom, naked from the waist down. I couldn't help but laugh. Upon going in the living room, he had sat on Zoey's dog bed and peed. He left his shorts and underwear in the floor. So not only do I have to wash Weiss's clothes, but Zoey's bed. I threw her other bed from our bedroom in the wash. Might as well wash that one, too, while I'm at it......

I put ANOTHER pair of Elmo pants on Weiss, despite his protesting. I asked him if he wanted to go potty and carried him to the potty. NO!!!!! (Okay. I was not going to make a battle over this; he is really stubborn.) Five minutes later, he's gone pee, AGAIN.

I stick a Pull-Up on him, despite more beckoning for a Elmo diaper. I'm sure glad I did, because he decided to go #2...... (THAT was a close one.... haha!)

By this time, it was about one in the afternoon. NAPTIME! The day had stretched on, so slowly. (It normally flies by....) I had kept looking at the clock to see when he would need to go potty. I finally succumbed and put an Elmo diaper on him. Weiss naps curled up next to me, in my lap, and I did not want to have to take another shower.....

Okay. Weiss has won today's first battle of the Potty Training War.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Weekend Recap....

Okay---now for the weekend recap.

Mom and Dad got to come down this weekend to hang out with Weiss, Logan and I. Weiss was especially happy to see them! When they arrived on Friday, we spent some time running errands in Marble Falls and we all went to see how the new office is progressing.... It's finally coming along..... YEAH!!

I "attempted" to do Cuban food from the Rachel Ray mag----I LOVE her magazine and food, and if I try a new recipe, it's probably Rachel Ray. Anyway, TWO HOURS later, the meal was prepared. All of the slicing, dicing, pureeing, juicing, broiling, boiling, baking, and mixing takes time, but it was well worth it!!!

(Next time, I'll know not to start an hour in advance, but TWO.....crazy!!!!)

We were all ridiculously stuffed.... Logan made homemade plantain and sweet corn hushpuppies with an avocado orange dipping sauce.....YUMM-O!!! (NOTE: I do not fry. Not because I think it's bad, but because I always ruin the food, burn the food while the inside is still raw, make a mess, or burn myself. I have a scar on my hand from chicken fried steak to prove it. So Logan does the frying, and it's a good thing!!!)

On Saturday, we all got up, went to Starbucks for breakfast, and then headed to Johnson City to the Exotic Zoo. It was Weiss's second time to go, and man---I LOVE that place! It is so much fun; you can pet so many of the animals, and the weather was perfect! (We were worried about it being too hot....) They had this awesome, HUGE African tortoise that Weiss just loved, and the camels, ostrich, and zebra are so cool. They had a new baby zebra that was really cute! I love how the animals follow around the trailer with all of the people the entire time; you really get a chance to pet them and love on them.

Of course, the animals just want the food, but who cares? I got to pet a camel for probably 20 minutes! Awesome!

Weiss was getting into the animals more this time, and he had alot of fun. I think Logan, Mom and Dad really had a great time, too. (It was the first time for the three of them to go...)

After this, it was lunch time, so we all went to Round Mountain (in between Johnson City and Marble Falls) and ate at the Real New Orleans cajun restaurant. That was my second time to eat there, and it is EXCELLENT, if you are in the area and have never been..... The people are friendly and Christians. (The restaurant is run by a church called "Smokin' for Jesus---" I kid you not.... They came from New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, and the entire church--over 150 of them---moved together. They have all established here now, have bought land, and have their church and homes on some beautiful property. Not only do they love Jesus, but they cook some mean Cajun food.....)

We were all so stuffed from lunch we had a light dinner and watched a movie.

This morning, we all went to church and then to lunch with Dickey and Cinda at Texas Nation here in town. It was the first time I had eaten there, and it was also great! Mom and Dad stayed for a bit and helped us with some stuff around the house and then had to take off for home.....

Weiss and I took a nap while Logan watched "Blades of Glory." (I fell asleep--I always do that!!!!)

I then did the last bit of my homework from this class.....YIPPEE!!!! My assessment course is officially over as of tonight!!!! I'll start a new class tomorrow in career counseling, which should be more to my liking......

Logan took Weiss down to the lake and Weiss got in the water for the first time this year! It's officially lake weather now, people!!! HOORAY!!!!!! Now Weiss and I can walk down to the lake in the afternoons from our house..... Super cool.

Happy Mother's Day!

Hello, all! I hope all of you mothers, grandmothers, and any woman who has ever loved on or help raise a child had a great and blessed day. Where would we be without women in our lives who loved, nurtured, and took care of us? Thanks, Mom, Cinda (mom-in-law)--for raising a great son, Memaw--who's gone to be with Jesus, and to my dad's mother. Although she passed away before I was born, she raised a great son--Dad! Anyway, now that I am a mom, I think about these things more often, and am definitely more appreciative.

I have to keep reading Proverbs 31 to keep reminding me to strive to be the wife/mother God wants me to be, but it's not an easy task, folks. I heard it put so beautifully by a mother whose children have already left the nest, but who is not yet a grandmother: "The days are long, but the years are short." Throughout my short tenure as a mother, I have sadly figured this out. Life is but a moment, and this beautiful--but stressful--time of raising children will soon pass.

I am one who always wants to hurry up and get to the next stage. I love the stages Weiss goes through, but I always want to think of what's next. But I think I need to just slow down and enjoy the present moment of being a mom.

10 A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.

11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.

12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.

13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.

14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.

15 She gets up while it is still dark;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her servant girls.

16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.

18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.

19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.

20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.

21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.

22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.

23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.

24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.

25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.

26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.

28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:

29 "Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all."

30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

31 Give her the reward she has earned,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

We Got A New "Puppy...."

Well, we officially have a new "puppy." Weiss's new favorite thing to do is act like a dog. Yes, 'tis true. He has always loved imitating dogs, and with us having Zoey dog, Dickey and Cinda having 3 (Avery, Quila, and Lola), and Mom and Dad with Barkley, he has spent his entire life around house dogs.

He barks like a dog, crawls on all fours like a dog, and loves to put Zoey's leash on his shoulders and have me "lead" him around. (NOTE: He knows he can't put the leash around his neck; he rests the leash on his shoulders.)

He has also been caught several times playing in Zoey's water bowl with his hands, and trying to refill it, spilling the slobbery contents on the carpet in the process of carrying it. He has finally figured out to "pretend" drink out of her water bowl, but a friend suggested giving him a little "dog bowl" to call his own.

Yes, I am aware this is weird.

However, I talked to two friends at Bible study this morning, and both had kids that went through an "animal" stage.

Weiss will even pant and bark like a dog, and he knows Zoey goes out in the yard to go "potty." The other day, Logan, Weiss and I were all outside, and Weiss was wandering around in his diaper. He went out into the grass and squatted down, imitating Zoey. And kids squat anyway when know. And that is exactly what he did.

Weiss will even sit on the floor and pick his foot up to scratch behind his ear. It is funny.

When I picked him up from childcare at church this morning, he was on all fours, eating popcorn out of a plate, pretending it was a doggy bowl. He looked up at me, smiled, and barked.

Oh my goodness! He is silly---I hope this is just a phase!!!!!

Monday, May 4, 2009

All Aboard the Potty Train!!!

Weiss loves trains--like all little boys--and as I was changing his diaper Friday, I was telling him how we were going to potty train soon. He said, "Potty train, choo-choo!" (He made the gesture of pulling a train horn as he said "choo-choo;" it was super cute!)

Now, any time we ask him if he wants to get on the potty train, he goes, "Choo-choo.....NO!" And other times, it will be,
"No potty train!!" And he knows exactly what we are referring to.... He likes to sit on the potty, but with his diaper on. He doesn't want to take it off.

And the kiddo doesn't like Pull-Ups. I've tried transitioning him to Pull-Ups instead of diapers, but yesterday, when Logan was with him and put a Pull-Up on him, he started crying, saying, "Elmo diaper, please!" (Pampers uses the Sesame Street characters, and unfortunately, I only had Huggies products in the house at the time. Huggies uses Disney characters, and Weiss doesn't like them as much...)

I've also tried real Elmo underwear, and Cars underwear. He despises them, as well......

The kiddo is ready to potty train; he is just stubborn, like both of his parents. He doesn't want to have poo in his pants, and tells me "gross" and "yucky." I admit: I have been lazy about putting him on the potty first thing in the morning and after meals because we always have something to do or an activity to attend, and I don't make the time. But these activities will be ceasing for the summer, so I'll have no excuse.

SO--In TWO weeks, we're going to go at it, cold turkey. I'm ready, Logan's ready, the grandparents are all ready. But the question remains: IS WEISS READY? Only time will tell......

Saturday, May 2, 2009

My Tiny Hometown Made the News....

OKay. I grew up in the miniscule town of Merkel, Texas--population 2500 and some change. And look: it made the news---for all the wrong reasons! Please see below.......


Six "probable" cases of swine flu have been confirmed in Taylor County involving children from Merkel from 4 to 11 years old, officials said Friday evening at a news conference.

All six of the children are "doing well."

As a result of the findings, all schools in the Merkel and Trent districts will be closed through May 11, Merkel ISD Superintendent Bill Hood and Trent ISD Superintendent Greg Priddy said.

Dr. Zane Travis, with the Abilene-Taylor County Public Health District, said the six cases are among 19 samples from local patients that were sent this week to Tarrant County for testing. The results of the rest of the samples have not yet been returned.

Travis said local officials are sending the six samples of probable swine flu cases to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta for further testing, but health officials from Fort Worth and Austin have told him that "you could probably say these are positive cases."

He said there is no way to know when more test results will come back.

The U.S. swine flu case count rose to 155 on Friday, with one death. The CDC has confirmed 28 cases in Texas. If Merkel's cases are confirmed, the town would have one of the highest concentrations of swine flu in the state.

Texas schools serving about 293,000 students have been closed due to swine flu, according to the Texas Education Agency.

Travis stressed that the public has no reason to panic or overreact, and he said he still plans to attend community events over the weekend without fearing infection. Travis said that the Merkel cases are "mild" and that the children are feeling better after taking flu medication.

Five of the children are students at Merkel Elementary, and one attends Merkel Intermediate School. The illness started about April 23, and Hood said some of the students were sent home sick from school.

"I would be surprised if these are the only ones," Hood said, noting some teachers have reported students vomiting in their classes.

Merkel ISD custodial staff have significantly stepped up sanitation efforts in the last week based on media reports, he said, and they will spend the next week cleaning.

"I talked to some of the parents this afternoon, and I bet some of those are feeling well enough to be back in school if the doctor hadn't told them to stay home for a week," Hood said.

The infected children are not related, Travis said, and he does not believe they had any close relationships. He added one of the students recently went to Laredo and visited with someone from Mexico, but there is no reason to think that is the case that started all the others.

Merkel's entire district has about 1,200 students in five schools.

Priddy said he decided to shut down Trent's only school because about 60 students have transferred from Merkel, not because he has seen evidence of swine flu in his school. Trent has about 180 students.

The Abilene Independent School District, with 16,400 students, plans to stay open for now, but administrators will be checking in with the department of health throughout the weekend to find out if any other test results reveal probable swine flu in Abilene schools, said Cathy Ashby, AISD associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction. She said she is not sure how many students transfer into AISD schools from Merkel but said, "It's not significant."

Travis has recommended that if one student tests positive for swine flu, the district should close that school and possibly any other school where that student has siblings. If students from more than one school test positive, the district should be shut down.

Larry Gill, a constable in Merkel who runs the city's history museum, said he was surprised by the news. He said the school district had canceled out-of-town trips and sent a group of 76 students to his museum Friday instead of Fort Chadbourne near Blackwell.

"I guess everyone is glad Merkel didn't travel," he said, noting the irony.

He said more field trips were scheduled to his museum, but school has been canceled until May 11.

Gill said that he still plans to attend church and that the only precaution he plans to take is to keep his distance from people who are sneezing and coughing and appear sick.

(The funny thing is is that Constable Larry Gill is a family friend of ours; he assists Mom and Dad in the funeral business most times..... Definitely small town!!!)

P. S.---My blog post from yesterday was correct in my inference: the 23 month old who died in Houston was in fact immuno-compromised. It is unfortunate he succumbed to the illness, but I knew the media wasn't revealing everything for a more sensationalized story........

Friday, May 1, 2009

Something I am Sick of......WARNING: Contains a Rant

Hello, all! I hope this week has found everyone happy and healthy. It has rained a large majority of this week here, along with being very humid and gross. I am ready for the nice, clear skies, and if that means hot weather--which I'm sure it will be--bring it on!!! I am ready to get in the lake and get Weiss out in the lake. (We're only a block from the water, so I am ready to take Weiss down to the dock and swim!)

I didn't need to water my plants for the majority of the week because of the rain, but yesterday I finally gave in. It is amazing what the rain has done! This year, I endeavored to plant some bulbs of my own. (I normally plant sprouted bulbs....) Anyway, I planted some mammoth elephant ears--they are supposed to get up to FIVE feet tall--and I was really worried about them because they hadn't sprouted yet. Well, lo and behold, yesterday, it seemed like they had grown out of nowhere! I watched them a few days ago, and they were tiny sprouts, and now some of them are nearly one foot high or a bit taller.... CRAZY!!!!

So Weiss and I have been spending some time outside, despite the mugginess of the weather. Last night, all three of us were in the front yard with the bubble machine going before dinner. I hope it makes happy memories for my little pookie bear. Logan put up some trellises for my climbing roses. Oh--and Weiss "caught" a lizard yesterday afternoon and kept it inside all day in his bug barn. When I asked if he wanted to let him go, he replied, "no...." We have these cute green lizards everywhere, and we are always catching them and playing with them.

WARNING: The following contains a rant, which you may not agree with.....

I have to vent about the swine flu. Logan and I both roll our eyes when we hear the words. It is driving us NUTS!!! I am soooo sick of hearing about it on the news; I know it is an illness, which shouldn't be underestimated, but the regular yearly flu strain kills many, many more people than this variety. I am tired of the news reporting cases that are "highly suspicious...." Okay. So this means they haven't CONFIRMED the cases; they are only speculating that the symptoms are flu-like, which means it could be several DOZEN strains of the flu....

If it's ebola, people, I'll get worried.

Okay. So the news has not confirmed many of the "supposed" cases they are reporting......There are HUNDREDS of strains of the flu, and if I was a reporter, I would not get everyone in a tizzy before a case is positively confirmed. And there have been few positively confirmed cases. (Less than 200, I believe. So when you calculate that nationwide, it is miniscule.) And not to mention how every channel has different numbers of how many are infected, et cetera. Oh, and speaking of getting everyone in a tizzy, Joe Biden's comments probably would have, if the White House didn't wordsmith his earlier statement....

AHH---Joe Biden. He has always had such a finesse with words, hasn't he?

It is horribly unfortunate the 23 month old child died in Houston from the swine flu, but this child also contracted the case in Mexico and was here visiting, so I believe this should still be classified as a Mexico fatality (even though it is labeled as US). So--who's to say how long he had symptoms? What about other mitigating factors (did he have heart problems, breathing problems, an immune deficiency, another illness simultaneously to make him more of a likely victim?). Had he ever been previously under a doctor's care? Of course, the media won't say, because that would lessen the impact of the story.

Oh--and Tamiflu is NOT a cure, folks. It's not a cure for any flu, for that matter. It can lessen symptoms, but it is no cure. (I just LOVE how the media has made it sound as though it is a "cure" for this problem. And yes, I am being sarcastic.) Hmmm....

Oh--and by the way: Tamiflu is an over the counter drug, people! So, technically, what this means is, you can go to your local Walgreen's and pick up OTC Tamiflu yourself to fight your swine flu, without even needing a prescription from your doctor. (I find this REALLY ridiculous in itself.)

SO-----If this is highly contagious, it is a problem that we'll be seeing from here on out. So will the swine flu remain on the radar? YES..... Can we keep shutting down schools? Since it is the end of the year, districts are more apt to close schools, but I'm sure they will feel quite differently when the new school year rolls around...(And they need the government enrollment funding that comes with each child being present and in their seat.)

So what I am proposing is---The hype will eventually lessen. Can the media keep reporting about this day after day? NO, because their ratings will go down because it will be "old hat..." Oh wait--it already is.

Am I fearful of this swine flu? No. Granted, there are lots of other things in this world I am fearful of, and plenty of them are ridiculous, but this is not one of them.

Jeremiah 29:11 reassures me: "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34