Friday, August 24, 2012


Today is my husband's and my 21st wedding anniversary. Twenty-one years we have been married. We dated for about 4 years before that. Knew each other for many years before that. We are 41 and have known each other for 35 of those 41 years.

My sweet man and I have a great marriage. In fact, looking at all the people we know...and I mean ALL of them, I would say that our relationship is better than theirs. There are many reasons for this, I'm sure.

One reason is that we have, from the very beginning, put God as the center of our marriage and our family. If you are a person who does NOT have God as the center of your marriage....well, please don't go around giving advice.

Another reason is the respect, not just love, that we have for each other. I recognize him as the head of our household. That does not mean that I have no say in what goes on. He will ask my feelings on matters...and I share with him honestly and openly. But, in the end, what he says, goes. Some of you may think this is archaic, but......whatever. I don't really care what you think. HA....which is another reason we are doing so well. ;)

Another big reason is this: I married my best friend. I'm not just being mushy. I know everyone
says they married their best friend, but really? I mean...REALLY? So, if you INSIST that you married your best friend, let me ask you this.....was he/she your best friend when you married? Or did he/she become your best the hole-y undies you just can't seem to give up?

THAT is what I'm talking about. DH and I were best friends before we married, and it only got better from there. We have each other's best interests at heart (refer to the DP dilemma), and can share anything without fear of judgment. That is a very happy place to be.

Now....let's walk back in time.

One story from the past is this: when we were in about 2nd grade, I guess, DH and his friend were playing. The dad of the friend told these 2 boys, "You know? One of these days, one of you is going to marry ~LL~." They both laughed, and said the obligatory, "EWWWW!" (actually, DH distinctly remembers stating that I was weird. HA...serves him right.) The other boy? He is our dentist. :-D

OK...this first picture is of a first grade Easter egg hunt. It's really hard to see clearly. (If you click on the picture, you can see a bigger photo.) Do you see the little girl on the right? She is wearing the white sweater. That is me. Do you know who took the picture? My hubby's mother. Now....being in a small town, it is easy to list the names of the children on the picture. There were 2 names listed. The first is DH's sister (she is the 3 year old...she is with the small grouping of 3 girls to my right (your left)). My name is the 2nd name listed. Hmmmmm......

Fast forward about 4 years to my 10th birthday party. I had a big roller skating party. My mother even made me a snazzy new, pink, skating dress. Those are my classmates standing around me as I open presents. See the strapping young lad in the super-cool silver and black jacket? That is my DH. (Heh...every time he sees this picture he says, "I loved that jacket. That was a cool jacket." Ly, one of my readers, is in the striped shirt standing right in front of me. (Incidentally, I used to have crush on the kid with his finger in his mouth. So strong was my love for him, that his name was written on the bottom of my shoe. *sigh*)

This next picture is of the 2 of us at our Junior Prom. *sigh* Isn't he a handsome guy? Yes, they allowed mustaches in school.....and guns in our trucks and pocket and butterfly knives in our pockets. (By the way, I promised DH that you would not tease him about his Superman curl. You can't see it, but tucked neatly underneath his tuxedo is his red cape ! ;) )
Now THIS picture is from Homecoming of our Senior year: 1988. DH is in the pale yellow shirt and I'm standing right next to him. I was a twirler...explaining the outfit I'm wearing. He was NHS Beau, and I was Choir and Lions Club Sweetheart.

Finally, here we are getting hitched. AWWWWWWWW......

And finally, a recent picture. Older, fluffier, definitely wiser, and more in love than ever.
Happy anniversary, my love. I pray we have many happy years ahead of us.
I love you!

Monday, August 20, 2012


This past May, we enjoyed a year that my 3rd son has had his ear repaired.  

This is my son's ear, just 1 year and 3 months after his last surgery.

Some of you have been keeping up with what has gone on for the last several years. If not, here are the related articles I have posted.










As you can see, we have put a lot of time, heart, blood, sweat, tears, and money into this ear.

One thing I haven't really focused on is the hearing portion of this journey. 

My son's actual diagnosis is....well, WAS "Microtia Atresia." Microtia meaning "little ear," and atresia meaning the canal is closed. Basically, it means that he has little to no hearing in "Verne."

When he was a baby, we had a test done. This told us that he did, in fact, have hearing in that ear, but we were told it was muffled. He could HEAR a noise, but he couldn't make out the actual sound. Kind of like having your finger jammed in your ear. You might hear that someone is speaking, but you have no idea what they are saying.

YES, it was a big concern. Until he was about 4....when we started having him evaluated for any speech and language development delays. There were none. Because of that, and because he was adapting, we were told that the cosmetic correction was the only thing we really had to worry about.

Now, before you think we were preventing my son from hearing, know that his other ear is perfect, in every way. To correct the malformed ear meant drilling an ear canal. DRILLING!!! INTO HIS SKULL!!! And then, if the doctor moved even a millimeter, a facial nerve could be nicked, thus paralyzing his face. We decided that that was not a decision that we, as parents, could make. 

Between the ages of 4 and 8, when he finished up with his reconstructive surgeries, there was never any question that we would be *done* with surgery #3. 

Until this past May. Suddenly, my son complained of hearing loss in his good ear. NOT. GOOD. I mean, he is already down one ear. We can't lose another, and develop properly. So, we started aggressively trying to figure out the reason for the hearing loss, what it means, and what we do to correct it.

All his life, we have been advocates for good ear-health. :-) He never had an ear infection. We didn't want to have damaged the only ear drum we were given. And now? Fluid. In his ear. No fever. No cold. No sniffles. 

First stop - pediatrician. The ear drum would not move. There was obvious fluid, but it wasn't infected. We put him on antibiotics, just in case it was about to flare up.

Second stop - just days later - an audiologist. Since it wasn't an infection, and he was on antibiotics, we wanted to see what improvements were made. They decided to test Verne....about 80 decibels. not acceptable. BUT, thank God we have another ear....we just have to get it working again.

Third stop - ENT. Nope. No throat issues. No sinus issues. No ear issues....well, except the obvious, I mean. But, he did want to see what, exactly, was in our son's head. He prescribed a stronger antibiotic and suggested an allergist.

Fourth stop - allergist. This is a wonderful man, whom we have seen before, when we had asthma issues. To date, my son has never had allergies, yet the fluid persisted. We *had* to figure out what was going on. 

Fifth stop - CT scan. He was a champ and stayed really still. He knew he might have to be sedated if he wiggled. And, he HATES *goofy juice.*

Sixth stop - BACK to the allergist. There was nothing obvious the last visit, so a *full-panel* was ordered. Everything came back negative. Good, but left us wondering.

Meantime, the antibiotics did their job and cleared up the fluid.

Seventh stop - BACK to the ENT. We got the results of the CT scan.

What does it all mean? 

It means that God works in mysterious ways. 

It means that God ISN'T FINISHED WITH MY SON! 


Because of this, in the various areas of testing, we found out that he DOES have all the bones in his ear. He has good *space.* Everything is just where it needs to be....well, except an ear drum. 

So now, we wait. 

We wait a WHOLE WEEK for my son to go get set up for a bone-conduction hearing aid. 


My baby is going to have his other ear brought up to 30 decibels. At 30 decibels, people don't generally need a hearing aid. It means that he will have perfectly normal, and acceptable, hearing. It means that instead of only being able to focus on the sound he sees, that he will be able to hear "in-stereo."

Moral of the story? If you love God, He will make sure that you aren't left behind. We were happy with what we have been given so far. But, God has SO MUCH MORE planned for us. I'm SO glad He didn't give up on us, while we were being lazy and not listening. 

What a loving Father He is. 

Sunday, August 05, 2012



Wow. School, for us, starts Monday!

I have discovered that being a SAHM....which, I am not, about half the like teaching, in how you approach it.
In teaching, the way you start the year, is the way you end the year. 

I find that it is the same at home....well, for me, anyway.

I have certain *big* tasks to accomplish at certain times of the year. I have a very small window to get a lot of it done. THEN, school starts. Once that starts, I am busy with SO MUCH MORE.

On top of that, I always end the summer thinking of differences I want to make. Or, I want to follow through, a bit better, on the last "great idea!"

So, without further ado, I will talk about what all I am doing. 

I am only going to discuss school-related things, though other things have a direct affect on the efficiency with which I complete the other.

My preparations really started about 2 weeks ago. Clothes. We have....SO many clothes. Now, I have one momma friend who has twice (+1) as many children as I have, so I beg her to PLEASE not judge me when I feel the need to throw a little pity party. 

HA....I really am joking. She and I have discussed our feelings on this. I know she won't judge. BUT, she will empathize. 

ANYWAY, clothes. A few weeks ago, I started going through kid. at a. time.

I start with the oldest....pass down to #2, pass down to #3, pass down to #4, then out to donation. 

When going through clothes, I often have to have the kids try on things, or discuss their feelings about their clothes: shirts too tight or short, shorts turning into "crotch squeezers." We also have to review the lesson in folding, hanging, and putting away their clothing. 

#2 has been going through a growth spurt. I don't even know how many clothes I pulled. Add to that, the fact that he is a pack-rat. It took me...I don't know....4 hours? in his closet. 

Once all of the clothes were sorted, sized, and relocated, I stated to task of uniforms. 



THIS is a MAJOR undertaking. I was happy to have my hubby's help in this. 

We go through all the boys' closets and pull all the uniforms. I also pull my tub of uniform pants. I pass down clothes. I don't buy new uniforms for everyone, every year. My oldest gets new uniforms, because he wears a different color AND he is the oldest. My 2nd was a *regular* vs. a *slim.* So, he often got new clothes.

WELL....after having kids in uniforms, for the last 8 years....we had 87 pairs of pants and shorts, and 85 shirts. When we go through uniforms, we sort them all out. SO, we had piles of 6 slim shorts, 6 slim pants, 6 regular shorts, and 6 regular pants ALL THE WAY THROUGH 14s....with a few 16s thrown in. (If anyone donates to me, I take them, and store them.

We then call in each child, one at a time, and have them try on the britches. Once we have the sizes, we asses if any need to be replaced. If so, I add that to my uniform shopping list. (We do the same with the shirts.) If there are pants/shirts too small for the youngest, those get donated. 

Now, a lot of folks sell their used uniforms, but considering that have been "in-rotation" for a good 4 years....well, they are no longer "gently-used," but "well-worn." If someone wants them, they can have them.

OK...uniforms have been sorted, sized, then hung (when appropriate). Those that are too big/small for someone, they go into storage. (I inventory what I have in the tubs. That way, if something is outgrown or ruined during the year, I KNOW if I have it.)

Once I get the uniforms listed, we look at shoes, socks, undies, and under shirts. THEN, we go shopping. With everything (uniforms and undergarments) we spend anywhere from $350 - $600. 

Whew....that took several days. :-)

This past Saturday, we had orientation for school....for all 4 grades. For the younger 3 boys, I am able to order school supplies online, and they are delivered to their classroom. Yes, I understand that I probably spend more on them this way. However, somethings are worth purchasing the *convenience.* This is one of them. I don't have an endless number of plastic sacks with supplies that have to be delivered, then sorted by myself, my kids, or by the teacher. WELL WORTH IT!

BUT, this service is not offered for the secondary. After orientation, I had 6 class lists for classes which need supplies. SO, I had to buy school supplies for 8th grade. Lots. Of supplies. 

Other things: backpack check, lunch box check.....this year, we bought 3 new backpacks and 2 new lunch boxes.

SO, what now? 

Well, my kids take their lunches most days. Some things, they get bored with. I also want to make them as healthy as possible. I usually try to make a menu for 1-2 weeks...just to take the thinking out of lunch prep. Because, I hate.....yes, I HATE packing sack lunches every morning. My kids do help, but I still do the *entree.* 

Now, onto chore charts. We have had success, and lack of success with these. The lack of success is my fault. Truly. I forget....get too remind my kids, AND to encourage them to use them. The success comes when we do use them diligently. 

With the chore charts I print a morning M-F routine, and an afternoon M-F routine. I also print a weekend morning and afternoon routine. I put the routines in a page protector. (M-F on one side and weekend on the other.) The kids use a dry-erase marker to check off their chores.

I guess maybe "chores" could be the wrong word. I mean, I DO list chores, but "routine" probably works better, as I list EVERYTHING they need to do. As soon as I get them printed, I will share my updated lists. 

I always determine to do better at things like: morning Bible study, cooking breakfast, having better snacks, using the crock pot more. And, it is always a struggle. Yet, I continue to try. I don't give up. 

The thing that will help me the most, and that is the biggest obstacle for me, is my wake-up time. Often, we are scrambling out of bed at 6:45-7:00 in order to leave at 7:30.  But, I usually go to bed kind of late, thus messing up my schedule. It is hard to get up at 6:45 when you only get about 5 hours of sleep.

SO, that is one of my big things this year. Bed, by 10:00 - 10:30. (As I type, it is 10:55.....but it is summer. :-) ) THEN, I want to start getting up between 5:30 - 6:00. 

OK....I am now drawing a blank. I hope this helps someone. If YOU have any great tips, please leave me a comment, on the blog, and share. 

Friday, August 03, 2012


I have not forgotten you. We have been on a 2 week vacation, then getting ready for school. I will be posting, SOON, on getting ready for school....not necessarily for kids, but for the moms. BUT, I came across this blog from the crazy gal that I read. The one I WON'T connect you to, because she is a whack-a-loon in EVERY sense of the word....but still. It is fun. I invite my 1-2 readers to do this, too.

1.  What color is your toothbrush 

Um, white....with orange....trim? The little non-slip grip, where you hold the brush is orange, as are some of the bristles. My toothpaste is white. Because, if it were blue, it would be gel. And, those who have read long enough know that I do NOT like gel toothpaste. *shudder*

2.  What is the best ice cream flavor? 

Well, let me tell ya. It depends on where, in my cycle, I am, AND where I am to get my ice cream (or what brand). I love: Mint Chocolate Chip, Chunky Monkey, Raspberry White Chocolate, Phish Food, Rocky Road....but probably my FAVORITE is Marble Slab's sweet cream with raspberries and chocolate chips. yum.

3.  Have you ever made a promise you'd die to keep? 

Wow, I copied and pasted this, but don't remember this. So, yeah....but only to my kids, hubby, and to my savior. I promised to do ANYthing to protect my kids. I would die for them. The same goes for my hubby. Another promise, to not deny Christ....and depending on if we are pre-Trib, mid-Trib, or post-Trib....well, there is a chance I could be put to death for my beliefs. I PROMISE, I will never deny Christ.

4.  Do you take vitamins daily? 

No. I don't take vitamins. I have nothing to expound on. No....not daily, not ever.

5. Do you go to church every sunday? 

Well, not EVERY Sunday, because every Sunday is just that...EVERY SUNDAY! Things come up....sick kids, vacation, just need to not leave the house. HOWEVER, when it is not summer, and we are not crazy busy, or out of town so much....we go to church probably 98% of all Sundays from August - May. However, when we are NOT in church, we are watching it online.  Does that change it to a "yes?"

6. Do you have a tan? 

Not an intentional tan. I don't lay-out. I get too hot. I don't like it. But, I don't hug the shade, bathe in sunscreen, and do whatever to avoid the sun. I put a bit of sunscreen on my face, then go. I get a good, healthy summer color. It is just from being outside with my kids.

7. When did you last talk on the phone?

Um, actually TALK? About 4:00. Actually, I talked to our children's pastor about a meeting coming up in which JBQ will need some info. Looks like I will be one of the only JBQ representatives there. I needed to talk to her about what to expect.

8.Where is your dad? 

Um, in a town about 40 minutes from here. Actually, I think he is currently in a video conference with my hubby on a business venture. That's OK. It gives me some TV and blogging time, which I haven't had in a month. Seriously. 

9. Look to your left, what do you see?

Up and down to the left? OK. Well, I am sitting on my couch, while I blog. So, here we go. My fireplace. If I go up to my mantle, (I actually had to look up the spelling. Just so you know, either "mantel" or "mantle" is accepted.) I have a cran-apple candle burning. Today was a GREAT DAY! SO, in celebration, I decided to bring my favorite time of year in, and burn a holiday-ish candle. Coming down, I see a wooden bunny with a string that hangs off a shelf. The bunny, in and of itself, is not some great decoration. And, it doesn't really fit. BUT, it was my mother-in-law's. She has been gone for 17 years. I will never part with it....until I pass it to a son. Coming on down...the normal fireplace tools, then the hearth. I have a few pens and pencils, our phone (land line), tons of cookbooks and a laundry basket full of about $300 worth of school uniforms that I am "relocating." 

10. What do you think of when you hear "Australia"?

I think of that book: "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day." When the main character has a series of things going wrong, he wants to move to Australia. I have, in the past, wanted to move to Australia.

11. What are your plans for this weekend?

Well, let me tell ya. (And, I'm not doing this to make you jealous.) My kids, all 4 of them, are with grandparents in Houston. For a week. My husband leaves, on Saturday, for work. For a week. My kids will be gone until Wednesday. Yes....I will be alone from Saturday morning until Wednesday evening. I may, very well, dance naked in the yard. Wait....not quite....I might dance "nekkid" in the yard. That is a different kind of dancing, to be sure. Other than that, on Saturday, I have school orientation from 9 - 12. (Not just 1, but 3 orientations, AND meet the teacher sessions.) Then, buy the last of the school supplies. On Sunday, I need to help oversee a JBQ demonstration AT CHURCH. (See question #5). Sunday night, I have a meeting. (See question # 7.)

12. Can you say the alphabet backwards?

Probably. If I put my mind to it. But, really? Why would I want to? What is there to be gained? You NEVER have anything filed in REVERSE alphabetical order. I have a lot to do with what little brain power I have control over. It is hard enough to use my powers for good...and NOT for evil. Saying my alphabet backwards falls in neither category.

13. Do you have a maid service clean your house? 


Really. Peshaw! I AM the maid service. No....let me tell you my thoughts on that. I don't work. My hubby works hard to allow me to stay home. With the privilege of staying home comes the responsibility of doing a job. That job is housekeeping. Yeah, it might sound "50's." But, really, I relish in it. I am not the best, but I do for my family what I think is best. And, THAT means I clean my own house.... thank you, very much.

14. Do you use the word 'hello' daily?

I don't know. I've got nothing else.

15.  Name something that has made you angry.

The last thing was this dude in the line at CFA. He stopped, not 5 feet from a trash can, and threw a straw wrapper ON THE GROUND. THAT, made me angry. It is just laziness. 

16.  Do you like cats?

NOPE! I am allergic to them. 

Now, let me discuss it further. I used to have a cat named "Kat." He was OK. I mean...he WAS a cat. I was in high school. My cousin (across the street) adopted him and named him "Summer." She, and her family, were gone all the time: school, work, etc. My daddy had his own business. He had a shop to the side of our house. The cat always went to see my dad....and ended up staying there. I renamed him "Kat." He was OK. BUT, when I was in my early 20s, I developed an allergy to cats. Now, it is bad enough that I can go into a house, and within about 10 minutes, know that they have cats.

17. Last CD played?

Who listens to CD's now? Oh well, I will still talk about the last thing listened to. It WAS on a CD, but through my iPod. It was....something Christmas, I'm sure. Let me think....Oh, yeah! It WAS a my changer in the FTU. It was a Christmas CD. The last recording was "Joy to the World" by Mandisa.

18. Have you ever dated someone twice?

No...wait...yes. When I was younger, I would date someone, (I'm thinking boyfriend here, not a one-time, go- to-a-movie date). If we broke up, I wouldn't go back to him. However, I did re-date my hubby. In 3 weeks, we will celebrate our 21st wedding anniversary!

19. Do you want to change your name? 

To what? I did almost 21 years ago. No need to do it again.

20. Last interesting thing you read?

Um.....I don't know. Thinking. I mean, I read a lot. Last thing I read was a blog. Kind of interesting, I guess. Last book? I haven't read that many in awhile. Will get back to you on that.