Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Good Old-Fashioned Fun

Whoa! Easter was the last time I updated my blog??? Really?? I actually have a few unfinished posts waiting in the drafts, but the writing vibe just hasn't been flowing! I have been creating! I've been sewing like crazy! I've made tutus, outfits for my kids, and some diaper bags for a friend of mine that sells them! Okay I can't get the pictures in the order that I want them so we'll just have to deal with them in this order!

This is a set my friend Shelly, my sister April, and I did together for a little girl's first birthday! It turned out so cute!! We're going to do a pink/lime green one soon, and I really want to do a hot pink/zebra set!

These are some of the bags that I'm sewing for Shelly. She sells these on different websites and to people around here. Aren't they sooo cute?? See the zebra/polka dot one?? That one is one of my favorites, and I want one just like it with a monogrammed K and royal blue trim for a school bag! This is a tutu I did for my cousin Crystal's little girl, Haven! She is such a cutie, and she's turning 1!! And this is an outfit I made for my girls yesterday! I had found this fabric 1/2 off at Hobby Lobby, and bought all they had of it! I still have some left that I'm not sure yet what I'm going to use it for! I might make Ainslee a skirt and with an appliqued shirt to match!

So there's a recap of some of the things I've been doing lately. But that's not why I'm posting today! Today I want to document for forever in history a game that Trey and I play that I DOMINATE! It's a little game that we like to call Google! Here's what happens: Trey and I will be driving in the car or talking, and we'll disagree about something (like the origins of qwerty, or alliteration, or Forrest Gump's home town, or the lyrics to a song), and we'll say, "When we get home, we're going to Google that." Here's where Internet (I'm not sure why spell-check makes me capitalize that...maybe I should Google it!) on our phones would come in SOO handy, but we aren't in the modern cell phone age just yet so we wait like they did in Little House days until we get home to look up random things on our favorite search engine! And like I said, I ROCK THIS GAME!!! I won all of the aforementioned searches! I'm sure he's won some, but I've chosen not to recall those, and this is my blog, so I don't have to mention them! ;0)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Just another day...

Today is mine and Trey's 9 year anniversary! I loved every minute of our wedding day! I got up early and prayed and read my bible. I met my friends at Stoby's for breakfast. Then I spent the rest of the day getting ready for our 2:00 wedding. We got married in a small Methodist church that was exactly what I pictured. I had always said that I wanted to get married in a small, packed old wooden church instead of a big, seemingly empty modern church. We had daisies, which are my favorite flower, and the bride's maids wore yellow dresses. Trey gave me a bible with my new married name on it, and I gave him a picture of me, his mom and grandmother that I had secretly taken months before when his grandmother had started to get sick and we weren't sure if she'd make it to the wedding.

But as I sit here at the kitchen table nine years later, it feels like just any other day! Layton is laying on the couch, running a fever, and coughing. He must have come down with a virus yesterday. Ainslee and Ava are running through the house in their dress-up clothes, pretending there's a dog chasing them. Trey's at work. I'm back and forth between facebook, texting my sister, and reading my favorite blogs. Nine years ago, I had no idea that we would be the parents of three kids! Or that we would be back in Redwater. Or that I would teach in the same classroom that I went to school in. Trey had NO idea what he was getting himself into! ha! But we are absolutely content and happy with our plain ol', ordinary, nothing-special, perfectly wonderful life together!

Yesterday my Melaleuca Value Pack came in, and let me tell you! I am so excited about the products that were in it! I should have taken a picture of it because it was like Christmas! I even texted my friend, who then told me I need to get a life because it was sad that I was so excited about cleaning products! Ha! BUT I knew she was teasing me because she had experienced the same joy just a few days before and had cleaned her house from top to bottom and had texted ME about how much she loved everything!! It was 30+ of the most useful products they have!! Laundry detergent, Tub and Tile cleaner, Lotion, Dishwashing detergent, Fabric Softener, Whole-grain crackers just to name a few. So far, I've loved everything I've tried!! If you are not a Melaleuca customer yet, get with me, and I can get you set up! Exchanging harmful chemical-heavy products with all-natural, high-quality, budget-friendly Melaleuca products will be a decision you'll be glad you made now and years down the road!

Last night my sister and I were sitting at the table talking while she was figuring her order from her Scentsy party, and I was watching the Melaleuca webcast, and we looked in the play room and saw the funniest,sweetest thing! Again, I was wishing for a camera. I have got to replace the batteries! I'm missing so much! Anyway, Ainslee had three chairs lined up, with a baby doll in each chair. She was sitting in a chair in front of them, holding a book, pretending to be their Sunday school teacher. She was "reading" them their lesson and talking just her like her teacher does. Then she got up to give them each a piece of candy! She'll make such a good teacher one day! She already knows what kids want: a short lesson followed by a piece of candy!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Going through the Big D...

And I do mean Dallas! ha! We started out our spring break with a 3-night trip to see some of our best friends, the Ashlocks. We met them in Conway in college and have stayed close since then! We were actually only in-town friends for about a year and a half and have been long-distance friends ever since then!

In the spring we always have a Rankin/Ashlock/Kordsmeier reunion, but the Rankins couldn't make it this year so we moved the party to Dallas to help us out since we had to make a trip that way anyway!

We decided to take the kids to the airport to watch the planes and have a picnic. They had so much fun watching those planes take off!

The kids played so well together the entire time we were in Dallas. Here are Nathan, Layton, and Daniel. Surely one of those boys will be a future son-in-law! =) It was pretty windy so we moved the picnic inside the cars. The boys dined in the back of this car, and the girls took over the back of ours. They felt like sitting in the trunk instead of the actual seats while eating jelly sandwiches and BBQ chips adds some form of excitement to the whole experience.

Trey and I opted for the eating-while-standing-up-so-that-we-could-get-to-the-juice-spills-and-fetch-more-chips experience. Here's us at the airport looking a little wind-blown in our matching Razorback garb. We are definitely not that couple that plans to coordinate our clothes, but the thing is that we have enough Razorback red shirts to fill an entire large load in the washing machine! I just discovered that the other day and was saddened by the realization. Don't get me wrong, I love the Hogs, but it might be time to introduce another color into our closet! It's not the best picture of us, but we rarely get a picture of the two of us so I thought I'd include it.

Here's the whole gang! Nathan and Layton are in the back; Ava, Ainslee, and Daniel are in the front. I have to state again how well-behaved everyone was! We really have some great kids! I'm so glad they all get along so well!

They were so funny! Everytime one would take off, they would run like they were chasing it and would cheer for it as it ascended! Here's Daniel and Layton jumping up and down cheering it on.

I didn't intentionally dress the girls alike, but they both did end up in their yellow shirts and khacki capris! It's not going to be too long before they're mistaken for twins! Ava's only a few inches shorter. The baby face and baby mullet keep her noticably in the 2's, though! Notice the white bows...I'm thinking it's time to take some clothes to my sister so she can work her magic and make them some really cute bows to match!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

My new business venture...

I am so excited to tell you all about this new business (ad)venture that I'm on!!! I've been looking for something for a while to supplement our income because we REALLY want to be 100% debt free and we REALLY want to buy or build a house! And soon! But we need some extra mu-llah!

Enter Ainslee's persistent eczema and my dear friend Alexi who also has a daughter who suffers from eczema. Alexi calls me one day out of the blue and starts telling me about this stuff that they've tried on Kyra and how great it's working. Skeptical me kind of put Alexi off a little and just never found time to listen to the information about the product. Well, thankfully, Alexi is more persistent than that eczema, and she caught me on a weekend when I did in fact have some time. So I sat down and watched this webcast about Melaleuca.

Oh my gosh, y'all! I'm so glad I watched that video! Long story short, we are in the process of totally converting our home to all-natural, zero-chemical Melaleuca products and Ainslee's skin is looking and feeling great! I'm so totally, over-the-top, excited about this company and can't believe I hadn't heard of it before. (Well actually someone had casually mentioned it before, but I didn't get what they were saying so I blew them off too!...I think that may be something I need to work on..I'll put it on my to-do list!)

So anyway...the point of this post is that I want to tell all of my friends and family about this wonderful company, and I would love to share it with you too! If I haven't already talked to you, email me, call me, stop me at church, and I will set you up to watch this video! You'll be so glad you did!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Has it really been 5 years??

This is me 5 years ago! I was 25 years old, had just had my first baby, and had not even imagined how wonderful my life was about to become! Oh sure! We had prayed for a baby, we had longed for a baby, we had ached for a baby, we had lost a baby. But none of that had prepared me for how truly wonderful motherhood would be. None of that prepared for the emptiness I would feel when I was away from him. Or for the pure joy when I see him smile. Or for the rage the fills me when I hear of someone who has hurt a child.

Becoming a mother completely intensifies every emotion I've ever felt. I've loved before...but not in the complex way that mothers love. I'd hurt before....but not like I do when he hurts. I'd cried before...but not like I do when he hurts and I can't fix it. I'd felt anxiety before...but not like I do thinking of all the things that I could do wrong. I'd laughed before...but not like I do when he says things that are so funny, and I wonder where he gets his sense of humor. Oh how I love that boy!

There are no words adequate enough to completely describe how I feel about being a mother. It's everything I've ever wanted. And more. Much. Much. More.
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Friday, February 12, 2010

Snow day in NE Texas

Yesterday morning it started snowing!! The kids in my class went crazy! I tried to figure out how many times in their 10 or so years on this earth they've seen snow. I think this might be the 2nd or 3rd time! You wouldn't believe how many pencils needed to be sharpened, noses needed to be blown, hands needed to be sanitized, bathroom emergencies that just couldn't wait for the bell, and things that needed to be thrown away just so they could get to the window to sneak a peek! Well we aren't heartless, mean teachers so we let the kids out to play in the quarter inch of snow, and they had the best time! We took pictures, and I wish I could post some of them here! I loved how excited they were. Of course, my Texas, post-civil war class discussion that I had planned didn't hold a candlestick to what was happening outside the window so I had to adjust my lesson plans slightly! Oh well! They can learn about Reconstruction any day, but here in Northeast Texas, they may not see snow again for a few years! Seize the moment!

My own kids were even more excited than my 4th graders!! None of them had ever touched, tasted, or played in the snow! When Layton got off the bus at the middle school yesterday, the first thing he wanted to do was see what it felt like. "Oh, soft..." was his reaction. I think he was built for colder climates, though, because later he crawled, rolled, and plopped himself down in it without a flinch. A few years ago, when I first became a mother, my friend gave me a helpful tip. She said when taking my kids out to play in the snow, to put one pair of socks one their hands and feet, then cover it with a plastic bag, then cover that with mittens on their hands and another pair of socks on their feet. That way they can stay out much longer because their hands and feet won't get cold and wet! It worked!! Dry hands and feet make for much longer playtime!

Ainslee looked like a little snow princess. She laughed and giggled and threw snow everywhere! She made lots and lots of snow angels. She didn't last quite as long as Layton would have, but she really had fun while we were out there!
Ava wanted nothing to do with the snow. Even while I was bundling them up, she told me she didn't want to go because it was too cold! I thought I could convince her once we got out there, but it was no use! I held her for a little while and then put her inside the play house where snow hadn't gotten. She lasted in there for a few mintues. Eventually, I just took her next door to my mom's house and she happily watched from the window!
Well now the sun is trying to poke through the clouds, and this year's snow will soon be gone! It was fun while it lasted, but spring is just around the corner! We can't wait for t-ball and Easter and day lasting until 8:00!!!
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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Did I really just talk about cows???

We had a kid-less weekend this weekend, and it was great! I had big, big plans to get the house totally clean and organized and to throw a bunch of junk toys away while the kids couldn't see. None of that happened! Not even a little bit! In fact the basket of laundry sitting on the couch didn't even get folded! ha! Friday night we went to bed EARLY, like both-of-us-asleep-by-8:30 early! Saturday morning I got up and gave the ACT. That's an easy $100 right there!! Then I came home, sat down, tried to get motivated, and my mom called and asked if I wanted to go see Dear John so of course I said yes!! So, you see, I didn't have TIME to clean. I don't know how I thought I was going to get that much done anyway! I only actually had a few hours!

On a side note, Trey is watching the Super Bowl while I'm typing this, and he keeps making random comments to me about what's going on. I haven't responded yet, but I don't think he's noticed! He loves football! I do not!

Anyway back to my totally boring recap of the weekend...After I went to the movies with my mom, I met Trey at Wal-Mart to do some grocery shopping. We were unsuccessful in that endeavor because neither of us could make a decision about what we wanted to eat. I was thinking pasta and sweet, romantic movie; he was thinking hamburgers and The Office reruns. Oh he knows how to romance me! ha! We ended up renting The Proposal, which was my 5th or 6th time to see it, but it was Trey's first. I told him he would laugh his head off, and I truly believed that he would, but for some reason he didn't. I guess he doesn't have an appreciation for Ryan Reynolds' antics like I do.

When we got home, we drove by our neighbor-down-the-road's house, and there were two cows in their yard. COWS! I could not believe that they had gotten cows! I mean we live in the country and are surrounded by pasture, but cows?? I texted her "Did you get cows???" She didn't write back, but as we pulled in our driveway, I noticed something very strange. WE had cows! Five of them! We stopped the car, and they started walking toward it! We had no idea what to do, but I knew I wasn't about to get charged by a bunch cows! Did I mention that a couple of them had horns??? Well, they did! They got a little sidetracked on the way to our car by some grass and crepe myrtles so we just sat there, watching them for a minute. Well then something even stranger than having cows in our yard happened. Apparently there's some signal to come home because the owner came out and started yelling and we heard a few gunshots and all the cows came running down the road! There were at least 10 of them plus a bull. It was the craziest thing I've ever seen! I just have to stop and wonder if the men of the old Texas cattle drives had known about that secret signal that made the cows run home, would they have had to have all the cowhands and cow dogs?? It could have been a one-man show! I teach Texas history so sometimes thoughts like that enter my head! Well on the cows' way back to their own yard, they managed to trip over our phone line (phone line isn't buried..I'm not sure why...I can't even come up with a guess!) so now we have no phone line, but this was the perfect excuse for discovering that my dad's wireless Internet reaches our house!

I can't imagine what someone reading this is thinking about where we live! Picture an old dirt road with pasture on one side and woods on the other. Now sprinkle in about 5 houses and evidently some cows, and you've just pictured my world!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I'm in the kitchen

Do you remember when I posted this post about our favorite breakfast?? In that post I said that the "recipe" called for two cans of biscuits, but if you were a memaw, you could use homemade...remember?? Well I went all memaw on my family this weekend and made that fabulous Monkey Bread-ish breakfast using homemade biscuits! Well...if you consider Bisquick to be homemade, which I do because I didn't have to tear the wrapper off of a can and then beat the can on the side of my counter to make it pop.

I decided to make a full-all-out Monkey Bread instead of the modified muffin cup monkey bread simply because I got a Pampered Chef Fluted something or another for Christmas. It's a bundt pan I think. On a side note, my sister is now selling Pampered Chef and would love your business! Anyway so I wanted to try out my new fluted bundt pan, and I knew it would actually be a full recipe, meaning that it would take four cans of biscuits instead of just two. Well I didn't have four, but I did have a box of Bisquick. On the box it said that the recipe made nine biscuits so I doubled it...because I think that's what all other culinary geniuses would do. I just rolled that dough into little balls, dropped them in the cinnamon and sugar and then strategically placed them in the flute. Then I poured that buttery-brown sugar goodness all over it and let it bake. Now since I didn't have an actual recipe I didn't know how long to let it cook, and I was afraid that the middle biscuits wouldn't get done. But let me tell you that if I hadn't overcooked that monkey bread, it would have been DELICIOUS! The middle ones were cooked well so I could tell what it would have tasted like all over! It was addicting! The outside was a little hard. I think I'm going to have to experiment with this to get the perfect cooking time and then I'll share. I'm in a weight-loss challenge right now so I can't experiment TOO much, but I did buy the heart smart Bisquick for when I try it next time.

Did y'all know that there's pretty much a low-fat version to anything you want to eat?? I was reading something the other day that said when going low-fat to definitely buy the low-fat version for meat and dairy. I can't remember the exact rationale, but it just makes good sense. I also have discovered and fallen in love with Morning Star products. They are vegetable products that taste amazingly similar to your favorite high-fat meat products! They have substitutes for hamburger patties, ground beef, sausage, corny dogs. I'm sure there's more, but those things caught my eye. I've tried the hamburger patties and the veggie crumbles that you use instead of the ground beef, and I am SOLD! They're incredible!

I just realized that I did a lot of brand-dropping in this post. Here's where I'd like to pretend like I'm a famous blogger and just let you know that I have not been compensated by any of these brands. Have you seen where people put that in their blogs?? Crazy isn't it!?! That companies pay bloggers to promote their products! Like a whole new advertising strategy. Hey...whatever works, ya know??

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Bring on the New Year!

We had a small, last minute get-together for New Year's. Small if you only count the adults! There were also nine kids running high on sugar and excitement so that was like having about 45 people! Those 45 people seemed like they had a blast and were very well behaved considering that I don't think any request for food was turned down! I love having laid back friends with well-behaved kids!!

The night came about when Trey and I were consuming way too much fried fish and shrimp at the Old Feed House and we were talking about how much we missed having game night with friends. Our minds went back to our college years where we were never far from a night of Trivial Pursuit or Catch Phrase. So I said, "Why don't we just host one??" So I called up a couple of friends and lucky for us some of our besties didn't have plans yet so they brought their kids on over and we feasted on snack food and played games! We played Wits and Wagers, which is new to us, but apparently, I'm a natural since I won 2 out of 3 games! E! True Hollywood Story and Entertainment Tonight come in handy when playing trivia games, as if you need an excuse to watch the classics!

This was the first New Years since parenthood consumed me that I have even attempted to watch the ball drop! We made it through two of them! First we watched along with the New Yorkers at 11:00. I'm not sure what we did to kill time until our own midnight, but I'm pretty sure that it involved saying, "Get this mess cleaned up!" no fewer than 100 times since 8 of the 9 kids were still up and full of energy! Ava was even still going strong!

Well they got the mess cleaned up and we gathered around our small dinosaur of a TV and counted down. We all kissed our kids and probably reflected internally on how lucky we were to have them! Although, about a millisecond later the mass exodus began and everyone parted ways!

In the picture above are Richard and Joanna, Trey, me and Ava, my sister April (do you think we look alike? Some say we do!), and our friends Brian and Amie.
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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Chirstmas #4

The day after Christmas we got together at my Aunt and Uncle's house. At this gathering, the adults get stocking stuffers and everyone buys a little bit for the kids. There's a $5 limit to the stocking stuffers so it's fun every year to see what creative thing everyone's come up with! This year I decided to make homemade cinnamon rolls for everyone! I used Pioneer Woman's recipe. It makes so many that there were a couple of small tins left for our family, and let me just say, they're the best homemade cinnamon rolls I've ever made. And I'm not just saying that because they're the only ones I've ever made. They really were good! I hope everyone else enjoyed them too!

Here's a picture of my aunt reading Twas the Night Before Christmas to all of the kids. Well all if you don't count Ainslee who was acting a little bit shy that day and insisted on sitting in my lap. You can see Ava and Layton right in the middle of things! And look how nicely Tyler is sitting! If that's not kindergarten training, I don't know what is!

And here are Tyler and Layton with their footie pajamas! Layton was so embarrassed when he first opened these up, he wouldn't even take them out of the box. Once he saw that older, cooler Tyler got some too, he was all about showing them off! He has asked to wear those every single night since then! Even after he dripped breakfast on them and they didn't get washed that day. Of course, I do have my limits and had to say no, but I did wash them the very next day so that he could start all over the process of wearing them way too many nights in a row!
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Christmas #3

OK so I'm almost done blogging about Christmas Extravaganza 2009! I can't quit without mentioning the fun time we had with Trey's parents on Christmas day. We spend Christmas lunch with them, and we have a traditional Christmas lunch and I make all the sides! Yeah you read that right! I make my Nanny's dressing, real mashed potatoes (we usually eat instant!), and some sort of vegetable. This year I made green bean bundles, and they turned out fabulous! Trey's aunt Barbara came with them this year! We had plenty of room around our brand new kitchen table that they got us for an early Christmas present!

For some reason I didn't take many pictures, but here are a couple of the girls opening their presents! If I had taken any pictures of Layton, you would see that he and Ava both stayed in their pajamas all day! Ainslee had to change into her new Hello Kitty shirt. Usually I try to stick to pajamas and underwear when it comes to character clothes (before I had kids I SWORE that they would never ever never wear any clothes with characters on them! Boy have I eaten those words time and again!), but when she said that she really hoped that Santa brought her a shirt with a cat on it, I thought it was clever to go with Hello Kitty instead of some awful feline like the one that was on WalMart's 4th of July shirts this past summer!
Here's Ainslee with her new jewelry box! She's so girly. She and Ava both got one from Trey's parents, but now, looking at this picture, I think they must have gotten swapped when we put them in their rooms. Oh well, they'll never know the difference...unless of course, years from now they look back at this picture and Ava wonders why Ainslee posed with her jewelry box!

3 Christmases down! 1 to go!
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