04 November 2010

You're the reason God made Oklahoma

Oklahoma gets a bad rap,  I think.  Sure, it can be windy and dusty and HOT and COLD and full of red dirt and flat.  (Hey, sounds almost just like North Texas :)  But, there are parts of OK that are, well, okay.  Better than okay, really.  There are beautiful parts of Oklahoma. 

We lived in Lawton when Bryan was stationed at Ft. Sill.  Now, Lawton is an Army town.  While it's the only military town I've ever lived in, it's not the only one I've visited, so I think I can generally describe military towns.  They aren't beautiful or fancy or cheerful.  They can be so run-down parts of them are scary.  Most everyone shares a common bond...service to our country...current or past.  No one really puts down roots.  Businesses, like the residents, are somewhat transient.  Businesses that do well are barber shops, dry cleaners, pawn shops, used car lots, and Wal-Mart.  I don't think in our 4+ years in Lawton we ever saw any of those close down.  Many homes look old beyond their years.  It isn't that no one cares.  It's just that homes change owners/renters every few years and many times residents aren't actually occupying their homes much.

Of course, there are good parts of Lawton/Ft. Sill:  the people, many of the restaurants, the memories, it's close to TX(!), the ability to be on Post each evening as the Flag is taken down, the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.  The Refuge is just beautiful.  And, it's not flat! 

All that to say, sometimes I miss Oklahoma.  I am thankful for Oklahoma and for my time there.  I was priviliged to experience life in the military in Oklahoma and I was priviliged to become a mother in Oklahoma.  Those two events probably contributed most to molding me into the person I am today.  Oklahoma is indeed dear to this Texan's heart!

Today, as our little Okie turns 8, I am so thankful God made Oklahoma!  You see, I do believe God has a plan for everyone and I believe God made Oklahoma for me to birth our sweet, loving, beautiful little first born.  Most family members, and even we, were skeptical about delivering an Oklahoma-born child a mere 40 miles from the Texas border.  We may or may not have even inquired into insurance coverage if we had happened to be at the Target in Wichita Falls, TX when a fast and furious labor began.  However, neither the birth location change nor the fast labor was to be.

Looking back over these 8 years, I wouldn't have changed a thing.  Well, maybe I would've had Addison pick up the pace a bit or had someone anyone figure out she had twisted her little self around so she could have a peek at all those faces as she was forcep-ed out of my loins before it was too late to do anything about it other than grab some huge salad tongs and use them to pry my sweet baby out of my birth canal. (tmi much?)  Okay, so I wouldn't change much.  I certainly wouldn't change the location of her birth.  As much as I love Texas, I wouldn't change that she identifies herself as an Oklahoman and a Texan, and probably a North Carolinian too. :)

Addi's an Okie.  It's part of who she is.  She's fiercely loyal to her birth state, even after only visiting once since we moved away soon after her first birthday.  Some might even find her description of Oklahoma to be exotic.  Her favoritism of Oklahoma is just a part of who she is though.  She is also so kind and loving and funny and clever and thoughtful and sensitive and dependable and stubborn and dramatic and easily embarrassed.  She is a perfectly placed member of our family.

I love you, Addi Pie.  Happy Birthday!  You are my reason God made Oklahoma. ;)

07 October 2010

on potty training

Potty training and I are not friends!  I used to say it was the worst thing I'd had to deal with in parenting up until now.  I'm not sure that's true anymore.  (I think sending my babies off to school and missing them so much for so much of the day is way worse than potty training.  But, of course, I used to make that oh-so-wise statement before I had any school-aged children.)

I don't know if it's because I've done it a couple times before or because of the gender difference, but Levi has been a piece of cake compared to his sisters.  Most likely, it's a little of both.  Or maybe it's because my worst-parenting-issue-to-deal-with-up-to-now has changed and potty training now seems like small potatoes.

We're a few weeks in and he's still going strong.  Pee-ing came pretty naturally to him.  Maybe I should clarify, standing up to pee in the potty and then pee-ing again all over the bed while sleeping came naturally to him.  Oh, and, of course stripping down and pee-ing all over the trampoline while his sisters squealed came naturally to him. 

I used diapers/pull-ups while Addison was sleeping when I trained her, but I went straight to panties 24/7 when I trained Libby.  It seemed like Addi's training dragged on and on and on.  So, after we got past Libby's extreme stubborness, the initial training was much easier with her.  Of course, she's Busy, so we went through years (still going through?) of her not wanting to stop whatever she was doing to go potty and then not being able to make it in time.  I opted to go the no diaper/pull-up route with Levi.  The problem was ("See, the problem is..."Makes no sense to anyone, but B :) he never woke when he went in the bed.  And, then when he woke from his nap or in the morning and he was soaked (and sometimes dirty), it didn't bother him!  Not one bit!  In fact, sometimes he would argue and whine while I stripped him down and cleaned him up. 

Finally, this week, I'd had enough.  Enough changing clothes and sheets 3 times a day and enough laundry!  I had two diapers left and I stuck one on him Monday night.  The other one was used during naptime on Tuesday.  We made a quick trip to Target to buy our last (fingers crossed) box of diapers and he's set for a while.  I was so afraid I'd get him "hooked" on diapers again.  It doesn't look that way, but we're only a few days in.  And, you know, it will still be years before he starts sleeping over with friends, so as long as he's out of diapers by then, I think it's fine. 

The moral of this story:  each child is truely unique and what you do for one, you really can't do for all!  Mothering sure would be easier if you could treat them all the same, but it wouldn't be nearly as interesting :)


24 September 2010

clutter on the fridge

See the purple paper on our fridge?  It's new there. 

Addi met me with a huge smile on her face yesterday afternoon and a hushed, "I have something to tell you, but I'm not sayin' until we get home!" About 5 steps later she broke down and told me she'd earned a You Sparkle!  She'd picked to surprise me after school rather than let the vice principal call me during the day.  It's been super-busy for B at work, so he wasn't able to see her on stage at the assembly this morning, but the rest of the 5 Texans were there beaming.

Her teacher wrote that she was always kind, respectful, and could be counted on to lead.  Of course, I know those things, but it's always nice to hear how she's acting when I'm not around.

In other Addison news, she got her first official progress report with real number grades.  She's doing her best work and learning a lot.  Bryan and I couldn't be more pleased!  Now if I could figure out how to make sure she keeps earning these same grades through high school, we wouldn't have to worry about saving for college for her :)


23 September 2010

Fort Worth Museum of Science and History

One HOT day this summer, the 3 and I met Ethan, Rachel and Aunt Lisa at the Museum of Science and History in Fort Worth. The kids had never been before and it had been many years since I'd been. While it's a little expensive, it was a great experience. Thankfully, Levi was free and we were able to use 2 of the Aunt Lisa's passes, so I only had to buy 1 admission. We also bought tickets for a movie in the planetarium. My kids still talk about that movie!

Around lunchtime, we headed for McDonalds. Then we went back for a little more fun, including digging for fossils. We let the kids play (in their clothes!) in the fountain before we left. I think Levi's wondering what his silly sisters and cousins are doing while they posed for the picture below. :)


16 September 2010

R I - part 2

My sweet Addison left me a surprise on the first day of school. After I got home from dropping the girls off, I found this note she'd snuck by my coffee. I love, love, love my seven year old!

Things to notice (aka things that make me smile since I get to be her mom):

  1. the correct date written in the correct form
  2. the comma between "Dear" and "Mommy"
  3. the transposal of letters in "shcool"
  4. and, of course "thang"!

She is a dear child and I am blessed. I think I'll go write her note and stick it on her pillow for her to find after shcoolschool ;)


14 September 2010

resolving issues - part 1

Since I can't seem to post anything these days, I thought I'd start with a babystep. This morning, I actually uploaded pics from my camera to my computer. Wow! That was a tad overwhelming. I'd completely forgotten about things we did this summer I've yet to blog. So, this will be the first of whoknowshowmany posts devoted to catching up. I haven't decided the order: chronological from most recent, chronological from least recent, or willy-nilly. I'm sure you have your guesses ;) Anyway, today, we'll start with the most recent event in the 5 Texans household. Libby has started soccer. Her team is the Lightning Bugs and her coach is her daddy. We had a total of 2 practices before the first game this past Saturday and now that we had another game last night, we're 2 for 2 ! We can thank Hermine for our lack of practices. Not that I'm complaining about rain.

Things have run pretty smoothly, thanks to an awesome team manager the Lightning Bugs were lucky enough to acquire. Right, B?! Now I'm starting rumors! I've actually done very little work. Bryan's been the workhorse. If you have a child in sports with a volunteer coach, you need to thank that coach. There is a lot of behind the scenes time spent on coaching. All the little girls adore him and, besides all the crying, I think I can safely speak for him when I say he is absolutely enjoying coaching 4 and 5 year old little girls.

Here are some pics from the first 2 games where we smeared the other teams! Not really, there's no score keeping, except by older sisters and brothers.

That's out little #2 warming up. (Okay, I just got the potty-humor as I typed it!)

I only added this pic because, if you look closely, you'll see one of the two girls who are talking instead of paying attention to the ball! is none other than our sweet (social) Libby Lu!


09 September 2010

It's week 3 of the school year

and we're surviving.

Here's the breakdown:
Addi(son) is still her name, but this year she has another Addison in her class, so she goes by Addi at school. In the past, about half her friends and teachers called her Addi anyway. She was created to go to school...always wanting to please, always trying her best, always disappointed if she didn't do as well as she'd hoped, obedient, thoughtful, cooperative, happy, rule-following to the letter, excited to work on homework, thrilled to see friends, fiercely loyal to every teacher that's ever taught her. She is the model Responsible, Respectful, and Ready to Learn student her school expects. She's still going strong in gymnastics and recently moved to a more challenging class. Our living room is still her makeshift gym! Addison's my child who would like to sleep in and has had trouble waking with a pleasant attitude in past years. So far, this year has been different. She's usually up before I even stumble up the stairs to wake her. In fact, this morning, she had Levi dressed and his bed made before I rolled out of bed. Addi relishes her new responsibility that includes picking Libby up from a designated area after school and then walking out with her to meet Levi and me. Second grade may be her best year yet!

Libby is her name of choice in kindergarten. Although she still answers to Reagan or any of her nicknames without complaint! If she could really have her way, she'd be called Elizabeth because she claims she was named after Queen Elizabeth! I wonder if the real Elizabeth she was named after realizes Libby thinks she's a queen?! Honestly, I'm not really sure how she's doing in kindergarten. I know she is beyond tired and is a tad cranky. By tad, I actually mean ton! I think by the time 3 o'clock rolls around she's done. She's had it. She doesn't even want to think about school, much less answer any of my questions about it. Socially, she's great. Libby is not my shy child. She was stressed out that she'd get her folder signed, but I think we've calmed her down. She did tell me a few days after school started she finally had kindergarten figured out. "It goes, 'Blah, blah, blah', go to playground, 'blah blah', go to lunch, 'blah, blah, blah', bathroom, rest time, 'blah, blah', snack, 'blah, blah, blah', go home." As emotional as Libs is, she really hides her feelings. On any walk home from school she can be all over the place with her emotions, but when we make it home, I still have no clue why she was excited and then crying and then laughing and then pouting. I'm chalking up most of this to being overly tired. Hopefully her little body will adjust in a few weeks. I am doubting our decision to start her a mere 5 days after she turned 5. There's nothing to be done about it now, but stick it out and see how she does. I'll be anxious to talk with her teacher at conference day in October. The good news is she's her old self on the weekends! We just have to get through 5 days to see the real Libby for 2 days! Libby stopped gymnastics for a few months because she wanted to try soccer. Bryan is her coach and she's having a great time so far even though every practice but one has been rained out! We have another practice scheduled for tonight and her first game is Saturday. That should be interesting :)

Levi is much better than he was the first week of school. He understands now that we pick "his girls" up after his nap. Usually the first thing he utters after I wake him is "we go pick up my girls now after nap!" He is delighted to see them! One day he even let Addi hold him like a baby for a good 30 minutes. She sat in a comfy chair and sang to him while he stared at her and was perfectly still. He's settling into a routine of taking the girls to school and coming home to watch Clifford. Most days we take a walk and some days we have to run errands, which is torture on both of us. I wouldn't hesistate in taking both girls on errands rather than just him! Both girls and Bryan. We I took Levi out of preschool for this year. I really enjoy having him around and he's got enough social interaction through sisters, church, and playgroups for now. I'm starting to wonder if I'll put him in preschool at all. I really don't think it's necessary. My tune could drastically change in the next year though. And, part of this rebellion may be aimed toward new teaching standards in public school kindergarten. But, that's a whole other can of worms. I think it will be good year for Levi and me. He is already telling me, "You're bootiful!" How could it not be a good year :)


27 August 2010

First Day of School 2010

Both my sweet girls went off to school this year! Libby was so excited to begin kindergarten and Addi's a big 2nd grader. I keep reminding her 2nd grade was my favorite grade to teach.

Levi (and I) feel a little lost without the girls around most of the day. He's starting to remember that as soon as naptime is over, we go pick his sisters up. The last couple days he's woken up saying, "It time go get Addi and Libby!"

The girls are both adjusting. It's old hat to Addi and she thrives in school. By today, five days in, Libby is tired and missing home. Hopefully by Sunday evening, she'll be excited to go back again.

I'm already counting the days to their long Labor Day weekend!


20 August 2010

savoring the moments

Dear Reagan Elizabeth,

It seems you are growing far faster than I ever believed possible! Was it really 5 years ago that I was swaddling your little 7 pound body up and tucking you under my chin to snuggle? I blinked and now you're heading to kindergarten in 3 days! It's almost too much for this momma's heart to handle.

This past year your father and I have seen you mature and develop in ways we weren't sure would happen. You surprise me often. You make me laugh daily. You sneak into our bed at least twice a week. You puzzle me a few times each day. And, you make me think more with your insightful observances. You were our tiniest and most high maintenance baby. You were our emotional and strong-willed toddler. (You're still emotional and your brother might out-will you.) You became our more relaxed, go-with-the-flow, outgoing preschooler. Through it all, you have been tough, joyful, girl-y, loving, busy, forgiving, honest, opinionated, yet carefree, clever, and giving.

Your family adores you. I see a loyalty that has developed between you and your siblings that warms my heart. You seem to have a special closeness with each member of our family and are able to brighten anyone's day, if you want to. You are innocent and faithful and unashamed in your love for Jesus. You challenge me in my walk with the Lord.

I have worried and worried about sending you to school so young, but I know you're ready. I know you may not be thrilled about the "boring stuff", but I suspect, when the time comes, you'll humor your teacher more than you will your mom. At least, that's what I'm hoping. :) I have prayed for your teacher and prayed for wisdom. I feel at peace.

I will miss you terribly, with my feelings only being surpassed by your brother's who, I fear, will spend his days pleading with me to pick the "gurls" up. After all, you've been his constant playmate. He may feel a little lost without you. Addi will be happy to, at last, be able to pick you up from your room and walk with you out to meet me. You both will be thrilled to see each other throughout the day. And, Levi and I will be counting the minutes until 3 o'clock.

We will cherish the evenings and weekends with you a little more now that we won't be with you as much. Daddy will get to have special time with you as he coaches your soccer team and Levi will get some special time with you since you will give up gymnastics, but we'll still be going to Addi's gymnastics class. I'm sure you'll still be snuggling next to me a couple nights a week and I'll take that as our special time together!

Words cannot adequately express the love your father and I have for you.




12 August 2010


background: Eating supper with our family after returning from a shopping trip with her Nana for birthday clothes. Somehow she talked Nana into allowing her to bring home all her new clothes.

me: Libby, you understand you won't have a present to open from Nana and Poppa at your birthday party since you brought home all your birthday clothes.
her: That's okay (then, in a whisper) because I didn't invite them!

background: Browsing an online Christian bookstore to replace a duplicate Bible Grandpa and Grammy bought her.

me: Oh, look! It's a book about Daniel in the lion's den! That was one of my favorite stories when I was your age!
her: No, I don't want any of that Jesus stuff. I already have a bible.


02 August 2010

Three Snug Bugs

Staying up late while watching a movie in the playroom has become a favorite activity this summer. The downside (for me) is one of the 3 inevitably wakes up at the crack of dawn and proceeds to wake his/her siblings. Then I deal with 3 cranky kids for the rest of the day. Or, at least until after lunch, when I make all 3 take a nap. :)


25 July 2010

petting zoo

A few weeks ago, we met some good friends at a petting zoo. We had a fun time with only one child traumatized by a hungry deer. (Apparently Libby's shirt smelled a little too much like deer food.) It was nothing a little ChickFilA couldn't fix. :) (ChickFilA for the tears, not the deer)


23 July 2010


One day in the last month of school, Addi was home feeling crummy. By mid-afternoon she started feeling better, so we got out some paper and made a list of all the activities we wanted to do this summer. While Bryan was in Houston last week, we checked two more off the list.

First we stopped at the Dallas Farmers Market. I packed our lunches, but I think we could've filled up on all the samples people were willing to pass out. We ended up with a watermelon, a cantaloupe, green tomatoes, yellow squash, zucchini and honey. Then we ate our lunch in the car with the a/c on full blast and a dvd playing. (It was the most peaceful lunch I've had in a long time!) The fun didn't stop there though. :) Next, we ventured out in the heat and humidity in search of tall buildings. Riding elevators was on the agenda. It was fun and after about an hour we were all pooped. All 3 slept the entire drive home.

Yes, I know these appear to be the exact same picture. Libby took the first one and Addi took the second. I think they could point out all the differences in their very different takes on the same building.


22 July 2010

old friends

Okay, so I've totally dropped the ball this summer. And, I uploaded these pictures in reverse order from when they actually occurred, but! I'm posting today!!

We had some wonderful friends visit a couple weeks ago. We knew them in Raleigh and we used to have a little babysitting swap back when both families were complete with 2 girls. I wonder if they would still swap with us now that we've added a rowdy little boy?! We've missed them terribly and had such a good time together.

We miss you again, D, R, and S! Next reunion, we'll have to come to you. :)


15 July 2010

Diamonds or Tin?

Bryan showed up at the front door with this hand-picked (meaning he picked-out each stem, not literally picked from the side of the road or someone's garden) bouquet in a silver vase and a card. I had just gotten on the phone and the doorbell rang. I never answer the door if I'm not expecting someone. :) I do look out the peep hole though, just in case someone wanted to surprise me with a fun UPS package. He must have hidden because no one was standing there when I peeped. So, I continued on with my phone call until the doorbell rang again. At that point, I opened the door and there was my sweat, I mean, sweet husband. He informed me he'd done a little research and found out the proper gift for celebrating 10 years of marriage is diamonds, aluminum, or tin. He quickly added he'd need a couple more years to save for the diamonds! Fortunately, he has learned in these past 10 years not to show up to our door with a box of foil, which was really his only other option. Especially since it's isn't the right time of the month to show up in Canton and buy me some "rusty tin c@#$", as he lovingly refers to my 1st Monday finds. So, he opted for a "silver" vase. The flowers are all meaningful as well: red gerbera daisies because that was my wedding bouquet, sunflowers because he surprised me by having some delivered while he was in Iraq, and the purple (what are those?? irises?) because my favorite color is purple (which I'm not sure he knew...or really cared about...until we had children, particularly our girls!). Is he not the greatest husband in the world??! If you don't think so now, just wait till I write out all his sweet words from the card! Kidding, B.

We had a very typical evening after that. I made a quick meal of grilled brats and squash, boiled some ravioli, and threw it all on a plate with some watermelon. As I sat and observed the scene at my dinner table I wondered what I would have thought if somehow a picture of that moment could have been shown to me 10 years ago. It was the normal chaos of each child trying to speak over the other in order to let Daddy know about his/her day with a little bit of whining about the squash from Libs and an adamant, "I don't like supper!" from Levi and a mom-and-dad-pleasing-first-born eating up all her vegetable goodness. And, of course, the man I love, still by my side through it all. I don't take that for granted and I know I haven't always made that easy.

I am thankful and joyful today. And not just because Nana and Poppa are watching the 3 tonight, so we get to have a real date! I am thankful and joyful for all that God has done and allowed, the truly good and the bad that turned to good and, even the bad that hasn't turned to good yet, but I know it will because He is so good. For the record, Bryan is in the truly good category. :)


08 July 2010


A few weeks ago, Bryan and I left the 3 with Nana and Poppa while we spent about 4 days at the glorious Camelback Inn in Scottsdale, AZ. It was fun and beautiful and relaxing and wonderful. I want to go back!

We'd planned on eating lots of yummy food and I'd planned on taking pictures of all the yummy food. We succeeded in our first goal, but I failed miserably on the second mission. Below is the last beignet we had one night at Grand Lux. Granted we were trying to eat at places we couldn't in Dallas, but have you ever had their cookies??! We shared beignets and took a box of cookies back to the hotel. I might have had one (or two) for a pre-breakfast snack the next morning. I also missed taking a picture of the sushi we'd eaten (not at Grand Lux) earlier in the evening.

This is the entrance to the Camelback Inn. Isn't it pretty? All of Scottsdale was gorgeous. The inn is located between two mountains, so we had some great views.

Honestly, I have a ton more pictures, butI don't have the patience required to upload them today. :)

We arrived around lunchtime, so we took a drive through the mountains to a little town that is now only the restaurant where we ate lunch. I had jeans on and we kept getting in and out of the car. It was incredible because it was over 100* and I wasn't sweating a bit. In jeans! I wouldn't even think of wearing jeans in 100 degree heat in Texas unless I felt like I needed a little torture!

We checked into our hotel around 3 and immediately took a nap. Bryan woke up before me since he had a tee time that evening. I tried to sleep more, but wanted to explore the resort a little before my spa appointment later that evening. I spent about 2 quiet, calming hours at the spa getting a massage and then Bryan and I met up to eat. We ate some delicious pizza at a place we could eat at in Dallas. Only, we wouldn't because we don't have one in Frisco and it was pretty pricey pizza.
The next morning we tried in vain to sleep in. That time change messes everything up! We ate at a breakfast place we found on the Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives website. We split the carmelized banana and pecan French toast plus I had a side of perfectly crisp hash browns and Bryan had the best corned beef hash he'd ever eaten. Of course, he was comparing that to MRE corned beef hash! I can't remember what we did for lunch that day (that night was sushi and Grand Lux), but I know that was the day we spent a lot of time at the pool, which is my idea of relaxing.
The next day was Bryan's idea of relaxing....being busy! We woke up about 5:30 (which sounds early, but we hadn't adjusted yet, so it was really 7:30 to us) to get to a 6:45 tee time. I sat on the cart while Bryan played, so it wasn't too busy for me, yet. However, during our late breakfast of Belgian waffles, he talked me into hiking that day. I like hiking. I really do. I just wasn't sure I'd rather hike than lay by the pool all afternoon. But, we got back to the hotel, grabbed a couple water bottles, clothed ourselves in the workout clothes that had, up to that point, only taken up room in our suitcases and set off for Camelback Mountain. I had just a moment of apprehension as we began our hike at noon. In case you haven't heard, it's hot in AZ. Robert Earl Keen knows what he's talking about when he says it's hotter than a furnace fan out in Arizona, 110* ain't nothin' when you live out there, you see. We set off and it wasn't long until my first water bottle was finished. We had 3 between us. Looking back, I can't believe we were so stupid. Long story short, I almost died (slight exaggeration) and we never made it to the top. We were so close, but I was wimpy that day. Plus, PLUS, once we made it back to the rental car, the temp was reading 115*!

You can't really tell in this picture, but there's a handrail along these rocks. It wasn't necessary on the way up, but there were times on the way down that it was better to scorch your hand on the hot metal than to slide all the way down those slippery granite rocks.

I'm smiling here, but I really wanted to be crying. I had just convinced Bryan that I really didn't want to go any further. Notice, he's not smiling. :)
The day was not lost though. We got back to the hotel and Bryan took a nap while I went to the pool. And then, we ate the best meal we've had maybe ever that night. We ate at The Mission and if you ever find yourself within a couple hours of Scottsdale, you have to plan a detour to eat there. Seriously. We began stuffing ourselves with their guacamole and salsa and I don't think either of us said a word (much less took a picture of the food) until we were waiting on dessert. We had tacos, fish for B and steak for me. I can't even begin to describe our food and so wish I had a picture for you. Unbelievable. We were both so stuffed. But, with an eating experience like that we felt like we couldn't pass up dessert. There were several choices we thought we'd like and one we knew we wouldn't like. So, we asked our waitress what she suggested. Of course, her pick was the pumpkin bread pudding, the one we knew we wouldn't like since neither of us are bread pudding fans.

Well, the pumpkin bread pudding was delicious!

And, here we are feeling completely satisfied. :)
It was great to get back to our kids (even though we knew that were in loving hands and having a blast), but I really could have spent another week there! Hopefully we won't wait another 10 years to take a fun trip with just the two of us again.