Tuesday, June 16, 2009

First Harvest

Jasper got to pick his first ripe tomatoes today. We've been waiting for this day for a long time. But we did it! We actually GREW FOOD! 
How exciting is that?!
It's so exciting, that I completely forgot to take pictures of the ripe tomatoes ON the vine before he picked them. Darnit. Oh well... there are about 50 more green ones on the plant, so I'll have my chance. 
Jasper was excited that there were four tomatoes... "one for each person in the family" he said. Um, I guess that means I'll be eating one later today in our "First Harvest Family Tomato Eating Ceremony." 
Uh oh. 
I do not like tomatoes. In fact, tomatoes make me want to vomit. 
I think I know why. When I was a kid, we'd go visit my grandparents at their lake house in Oklahoma. We'd swim. We'd burn. And then, we'd get the dreaded Tomato Treatment. The tomato treatment is just what it sounds like... Nanny or Papa would cut up a tomato and rub it ALL OVER YOUR pathetic burned little body. 
I am not sure if this home remedy really worked or not. I suppose it did, because let me tell you, once you were covered in sticky stinky tomato juice, you completely forgot all about your sunburn... but that's only because now you just felt so miserable to be covered in tomatoes. And have you ever seen mosquitoes in Oklahoma? They're big. And guess what? They apparently like tomatoes, very much, if you get my drift. 
So perhaps whenever I smell a fresh tomato, it takes me right back to that whiny, sunburned child who did NOT want to be slathered up in the vile juices... ugh. 
Today, however, I will try to turn a new leaf, for my son's sake. I will smile and I will eat the tomato, and I will NOT hurl... 
I would sure LIKE to be able to like tomatoes. I will try. And I'll let you know how it goes. :) 

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Air-Conditioning, Fever and a Transport Ferry

That pretty much wraps up our day yesterday. It was mellow. It was hot and the air-conditioners ran all day. Summer is already feeling long... ha ha ha. 
Jasper and I were diligently working on his Lego transport ferry when he first spiked his fever. He got up to 103 at one point and so just felt kinda punk all day. But the highlight of the day, for both of us, was finally completing his ferry. 
I tell you what, Santa obviously thought pretty highly of this kid, to get him this item (#1 on his Christmas wish list). He must've felt confident that Jasper would have the patience and gumption to actually make it happen. We're talking 1,279 pieces of a totally complicated piece of machinery, complete with gears and chains and dozens of working parts. You're really supposed to be at least 12 years old to be able to do this... but my brilliant 8-year-old son made it look like a piece of cake. He did not disappoint. I'm sure Santa would be proud. 
I was his assistant. I would hunt down pieces to each phase and lay them out while he followed the ridiculously detailed instructions and made magic happen. What we started over my morning coffee, we ended over my evening glass of wine. 
It's not easy for me anymore to sit cross-legged on the floor for hours upon hours. In fact, it hurts. A lot. I had to take a union break every half hour or so to stretch my old muscles... but I truly enjoyed the quiet time, with my focused, determined son, while he worked and created. We'd chat some, but not a lot. He's not afraid of comfortable silences. We get along nicely. And he agreed that we make a great team.
He's feeling better today. I'm glad. He's my hero. 

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Alright, I know most of you have told me you come here to read my blog because you love how positive I am and how happy I am with my life and because it makes you feel good to read my ramblings... and yes, I *am* still happy and all of that, but this morning I just feel I have to get something off my chest. I apologize for it, but sometimes I just get consumed by the sadness and if I just try to purge it, perhaps I can shake off the funk and continue on today as my happy self, living out my incredibly blessed, damned-near-perfect life in selfish blissful oblivion. (Gee, can you tell I'm being eaten away at the core by guilt??)
I have a heavy heart this morning. I feel like I've been hit in the face with a brick. 
Yesterday, at one point, I remember mentally lamenting that I wish I looked better in a bathing suit, cause my new friends all seem to have the cutest little bodies, and I was also bummed that my hydrangeas haven't produced more mopheads because I really want to cut some and bring them inside, but then there won't be any left in the garden, and I am annoyed because my dog is shedding like crazy and so I have to sweep several times a day... Hmmm. Okay, that's it. THAT is how AMAZINGLY GREAT my life is. Those were the ONLY things I could think of to even remotely complain about for the day. 
But while I'm over here living this damned-near-perfect life, I just found out that one of my friend's mothers died after suffering many years with Alzheimer's. My friend has now lost both parents in the past few months. And my other friend is currently on a humanitarian trip in the Dominican Republic, taking photographs of naked babies sleeping in the streets and little children playing in the village dump. Another friend just told us that he's leaving his wife because she's an alcoholic who refuses to change her ways. And yet another, an old family friend, is battling breast cancer. 
Friends all around us are suffering. They're losing jobs and losing homes and their marriages are crumbling. It is so incredibly sad. 
My cousin's husband played "Blackbird" on his guitar Sunday at a funeral for an 8-month-old boy who could not win his battle against disease. 
I follow blogs of several women who bare their souls and their stories of infertility and of losing children. I know many mothers coping with children with special needs.
And in the news, just today, more details about the horrific fire at a daycare in Mexico that killed at least 38 children and about how the parents tried to ram their cars into the side of the building to free the children. 
And then, of course, there's the Air France crash that is still being investigated. That's another 228 victims... and that means thousands of people mourning for them, wondering if the bodies will ever be found. 
There are people shooting each other at schools and resorts and in the on-going war. People are committing suicide and beating their children. 
I recently watched "Slumdog Millionaire" and saw the hideous things done to children in other countries... the abuse and slavery and prostitution and torture of these innocent souls. 
It's really just too much to handle. 
It makes me incredibly sad and sick to my stomach. It makes me want to get up off this couch and DO something about it. But it also makes me feel helpless, like the problems are so much bigger than I am, and so the magnitude of it all just paralyzes me and I have no earthly idea where I'd even start. 
And all the while, while all this heartache and trauma and tragedy is swirling around me, I sit here in my office and daydream of Ireland and castles and pubs and a cold Guinness with my adorable husband. I daydream about my son winning his first baseball championship trophy tonight and I gaze at my daughter and think about how gorgeous she looks with her fresh tan and glistening golden hair. I think about how nice the air-conditioning feels on this hot summer day and wonder what I should fix myself for lunch.
Is it fair? No. It is not fair. 
Is it okay for me to still bask in the glow of my own personal life? And how do I do that without feeling guilty? 
What can I do to help? Where do I even start? 
I am completely open to any and all suggestions. 
If you've made it this far in this post, thank you for listening.

It's Here!

Okay, and I'm here too! HA HA HA. I even got fussed at by my VERY OWN ANTI-BLOG HUSBAND last night for not posting enough. I keep meaning to, I really really do, honest... but it's a little overwhelming because there's just TOO much to talk about, so I don't even know where to start. 
We have recently gone to visit my parents and niece (Oh My Gosh I never even blogged about that AMAZING trip!), celebrated Jasper's 8th birthday, wrapped up another school year and are now in the throes of a very exciting baseball tournament. 
And our phones have been out for 3 days (??) and the washing machine is broken and Ireland is finally planned and it's all just been VERY CHAOTIC and wonderful around here. 
So this isn't really a blog... this is just me saying I *will* be back later today with a REAL blog. Honest! :) 
But for right now I'm going to enjoy this cup of coffee on what feels like the first REAL DAY OF SUMMER... did I mention both the kids are still asleep? Ahhhhhhhh. Gotta love it! 
Going to download a ton of pics for you... 
Oh, and yeah, more... well, I can never decide what I want my blog to look like. It's tough when you use this free program cause there's only so much customizing you can do. I would like to upgrade my blog so I can really make it MINE... but just haven't had time! Maybe that will be a good summer project. 
Back soon my friends!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I see the light...

Yes, I see the light!! The end of the tunnel is near! 
I see the end of school nearing... just 13 more days for the kiddos! FUN. I love summer!!! No alarm clocks, drippy popsicles, wrinkled swimming fingers, long lazy days, flowers and fireflies... and VACATIONS!
Yes, only 35 days until the kids go to camp and John and I jet set off to Ireland! 
And only two more weeks of baseball and then we have a nice break. Wow... what will I *do* with myself without 8 baseball events per week, carpooling, volunteering at school, Wednesday folders, packing school lunches... ahhhhhhh. Bliss. 
And only six days until we skeedaddle on down to San Antonio to visit my parents and niece and meet their new puppy!! Ohhhhh the fun times abound!!! 
But what is most fabulous about my life is that it's not just these big events that please me most, but rather the day to day blessings that surround me... be it my sweet, adoring husband, my awesome kiddos, my soft, loyal pup, my lovely new friends, my mom on the telephone, baby tomatoes in my garden or baby birds in the nest in the rose bush... I feel like I'm just completely surrounded by goodness and light every day. 
And this man, right here, is one of the brightest lights in my life. I adore him beyond words. He brings laughter and joy into my life every single day. He makes me feel loved and beautiful and safe and secure and doesn't even get the slightest bit angry when I back my car into his truck, causing damage to both vehicles in one very expensive, very careless moment. John, thank you for being my light and my rock... and of course, my BFF. Oh, and thank you for putting up with me and my camera. :) I love this new picture of you!!!

Here's the damage from my big whoopsie daisy on Thursday... EEK. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Great Big Fun and Pint-Sized Perfection

We're home... always a fabulous feeling, no matter how fantastic our travels are. 
We had some BIG fun in Disneyland. It was a total BONUS DAY for us... we just squeezed it in to our SoCal adventures and we're so glad we did. Jasper was finally tall enough to go on every single ride in the park, so that's exactly what we did! Light crowds, perfect weather and happy kids. Gotta love it. After the fireworks show, Kathryn let us know we'd been awake and movin' for 21 hours... and we were all starting to feel it, so we decided to call it quits earlier than expected and left the park an hour before closing. 
But no rest for the weary. 
Up and at 'em again the next day for Sophie's 3rd birthday party in the park!! So cute to watch her run around with all her little knee-high friends. Everyone had a great time. 
I finally got to meet our newest family member, baby Finn, who is a mere 3 weeks old and every bit as perfect as I expected him to be!! I drank up as many baby snuggles as I could get, knowing next time I see him he'll be a completely different kiddo. He's a doll and I can tell we're going to get along juuuuuuuuust fine. 
The older cousins had a blast together, chasing and screeching and swimming and singing. 
Spent Mother's Day with John's family. My brother-in-law prepared a fantastic feast and we mothers were pampered morning 'til night. 
Came home to a ridiculously lush (and mowed! Thanks neighbor!!) lawn and a new Mayor (yay!) and now we're enjoying the growing excitement as school and baseball wind down and summer approaches. 
Good times. :) 

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Few Thoughts on Mothering

Mother's Day is coming! I love this day. I love that it's now a holiday I can share with my own mother... not only celebrating her, but also my own role as a mom. :) I'll blog about my Mom very soon, but today I want to talk about myself. Ha ha ha.
Being a mother has been the most fantastic ride for me so far... from the first moment I held my deliciously beautiful, sticky little newborns until now, when I send my big independent kids out the door to school.
It's going by fast. WAY WAY WAY too fast. But I'm trying to enjoy every bit of it. Most days I succeed. 

There are some silly things I love about being a mother:
First of all, I absolutely loved the possessiveness I felt as I scooped up my warm sleeping burrito-wrapped bundles in the early days. And I loved nursing them, feeling so incredibly connected, just sitting there quietly, rocking, feeling like I could happily stay there all day long.
I loved when my toddlers called me "Mommy." I think that's one of the sweetest sing-song words in the English language. I admit I was sad when they graduated to just plain ol' "Mom," but I've grown to love it as well. 
"Mom," to me, means the privilege of getting to stare at your sleeping beauties for a few sacred, peaceful moments before waking them in the mornings. 
"Mom" means being able to slather them with as many kisses as you want, even if they're yelling "Stop!" because you know they're secretly loving it... the smirk on their faces gives them away. 
"Mom" means knowing your children inside and out, almost better than they know themselves. 
"Mom" means being ON IT all the time, 24/7 with no breaks and no paycheck and no sick days, but with endless benefits!! :) 
"Mom" means having to learn to love the smell of peanut butter and Miracle Whip first thing in the morning. 
"Mom" means being able to have a whole conversation with your child with just one look. 
"Mom" means always knowing where EVERYTHING is, from a favorite Pokemon pencil to a beloved stuffed animal to baseball cleats and hair bands or iPods and DS chargers. Always, all the time. Just ask.
"Mom" means loving your children so fiercely that it sometimes literally hurts. 
"Mom" means you're absolutely, without a doubt, ready at any moment to throw yourself in front of a bullet for your kids, no hesitation, no regrets. 
"Mom" means the joy of getting to giggle with your kids, watch them grow and learn and master new things, being so full of pride you just might possibly burst at the seams. 
"Mom" means having a new love and respect for your own mother because now you REALLY TRULY understand how she feels about you, even though she's been telling you for the past 38 years.
"Mom" means going to bed exhausted every night of the week. 
"Mom" means something special will happen to you every single day of the week...  you never know what's coming, but I promise you, be it a big thing or a tiny gesture, it *will* happen.
I thank God every day for letting me be a mother and for my own mother, who showed me how to be great at it. 

*Photos by the extremely fabulous and talented Gillian of www.gigiphotography.com. THANK YOU LOVE for capturing me with my children... I love how these photos show exactly how I feel about them!! :) I will treasure them always! 

Monday, May 4, 2009

Yertle the Turtle

Meet Yertle. 
He was a good pet, for a day. See, we have a rule around here and that is that any "pet" we find, we only keep for one day and then we set them free again. 
I really enjoyed Yertle. John and Kathryn saw him trying to cross the street on Saturday during the huge crazy storm, so they snatched him up. Yertle was a BIG hit at the birthday party!! Quite entertaining. All the kids loved him. 
Yertle braved the stormy night with us and then posed for a few photos before we bid him farewell. 
The kids did not shed any tears. I guess he just wasn't fluffy enough for their tastes. 

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Mmmm, Romance...

Question: What do you get when you have no kids at home, no power, a massive thunderstorm, dozens of flickering candles, delicious red wine, the Best of Journey playing on the laptop, Chinese food delivered and a Backgammon board? 
Answer: A PERFECT Saturday night!! :) 

John and I enjoyed a rare treat last night... being home alone with no kids! It was a crazy stormy night but we totally made the best of it and we agree it's the most fun we've had in a long time. We think we might make a new tradition out of this... farm out the kids to friends and then pretend there's no power. You should try it! It's good for a marriage. :) 

Friday, May 1, 2009

Appreciating the Appreciation

I felt compelled to blog today. I've obviously been pretty lazy about it lately. I'll tell you, it's harder than I anticipated, keeping it up on a daily basis. I did okay for a couple of months, then it started being more of a weekly blog and now, well, I get messages from frustrated followers, asking when they can expect the next entry! Whoops. Sorry. 
But yesterday I got the most beautiful message from a dear friend of mine. I wanted to share it. She really touched me and has given me encouragement and motivation to continue my blogging journey!!! I'll try to do a better job of keeping up with it! 
So today, if you know someone who has been doing a good job of something, be it a teacher or a coach or a housekeeper or whatever... LET THEM KNOW! Shoot them a quick email and tell them how much you appreciate them. I promise, it'll make their day! I should know:

Hola Stacy!
Wow...I just read a lot of your blog....you made me laugh, cry and happy to be alive all in one hour! But seriously, i really, really want you to know that since we got back in touch I've been following your pictures and little comments on Facebook... and you're a HUGE inspiration! Who loves life more than you?? Seriously, I can't name one person in my life who does besides you and it's made me re-examine my life! I've been in such a funk lately and you're making me realize that little things like planting flowers, watching my nephews and neice and appreciating my fiance, my family and friends are the things that are important!! We get so caught up in work and politics and such that the little things get pushed to the side. 
Anyways...you have the most amazing aura around you Stacy, it comes through in your writing and pictures...you're beautiful in every way and nice and caring and an amazing photographer! John and your children are blessed to have you! 
Okay, I am getting mushy so I'll stop here, I just wanted you to know that you've been on my mind a lot lately :)

Isn't that the sweetest? Aw, thank you my friend! Okay, and since now I know that my silly ramblings about how much I love my day-to-day life aren't boring everyone half to death, I'll tell you about another thing that made me quite happy the other day... 
Jasper bought me this squirrel picnic table. It's hysterical. The squirrels look like they're sitting on a little chair, eating from a little table. We love it. And I love it more because my sweet 7-year-old son was willing to use his OWN money to buy it for me for no reason other than he thought I'd love it. 
I wanted to get a few photos of the squirrels for him, so the other day, I stood outside for a good half hour, inching closer and closer to the feeder, until I was only about two feet away! The squirrel ALMOST took the strawberry from my hand! Too funny.

Have a great weekend everybody and don't forget to tell someone how much you appreciate them! 

Friday, April 24, 2009

What a Wonderful Week!!

Oh I've just had the best week... hanging out with Gillian and Lucia... taking hundreds of photos, drinking too much coffee and staying up late. 
I have so many new fabulous photos I couldn't possibly post them all, but here is a little showcase I hope you'll enjoy... a mish mash of some of our favorites, in no particular order. This is TRULY the BEST Mother's Day gift I've ever received!! THANK YOU AGAIN GILLIAN!!

Take a TALENTED photographer, handsome boy, funky old beat up truck and golden light... and this is what you get!!

We were so happy to find a little patch of bluebonnets... 

Of course you can't come to Texas and not ride a horse!!!

Gillian has a new lens... and she has already mastered it. They make a GREAT team... combining her ability and the delicious creamy bokeh of the lens... the results are breath-taking. She let me take her new toy on a test run (because I was drooling all over it!) and sadly, I just cannot for the life of me make it SING the way she does. She is so gifted!!! She is a huge inspiration to me. If you'd like to check out more of her work, visit her website at www.gigiphotography.com or her blog, at www.gigiphotography.com/blog. You won't regret it! 
Ohhhhhhhh one of my FAAAAAAAAAAVES. :)

And of course I adore all the ones of me and Jasper snuggling. 

And this one has got to be my ALL-TIME FAVORITE EVER photo taken of me and the kiddos together. I'm going to print this on a huge canvas. I can't wait! 
Jasper decided to get in on the action... he picked up my camera and starting taking Lucia's picture while I took some of Gillian... I turned around and saw this and my heart just sang! He's a natural!
Here are a few of his results. 

Ohhhhhh and Lucia is such a sweet pea. I got to meet her for the first time when she was just a few weeks old. She is a joy to have in the house... she is silly and sweet and mild-mannered and quiet and loving. Melts my heart every time she comes to give me a hug or kiss. I am still trying to convince Gillian to leave her with me, but for some reason I'm having trouble convincing her. Hmmm. Couldn't possibly understand why! ;) 
Unfortunately, Gillian is upstairs packing her suitcase and I'm feeling sad she's leaving today (So soon??!! But didn't you just get here??!!) but I know she's anxious to get home to her two other sweet girls. 
I'll post more pictures soon... I have a CRAZY busy weekend ahead... volunteering and two baseball games tonight, then two more games tomorrow AND my father-in-law is coming for a visit... so I have to do a quick turnaround on the house and guest room sheets... fun times!! I can certainly never complain of being bored!
Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!! 

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Purty as a Picture...

Meet Gillian. :) One of my very dearest friends EVER. I'm sure you've heard me talk about her... if not, well, you obviously haven't been paying attention. Ha ha ha. ;) 
We met online five years ago via a photography forum and people thought we were CRAZY the first time we decided to meet in person... but we hit it off just as well in real life as we did online, so it's been a fabulous relationship ever since. 
Gillian is beautiful. And frilly. And girly. And super duper sweet. Did I mention she's beautiful? I love her in so many ways. She inspires me. She is a FANTASTIC photographer and is always cheering me on and boosting my confidence. She also listens to me whine and well, we email each other back and forth literally dozens of times a day. 
And she's HERE, right now, sitting next to me on my sofa while we both update our blogs and facebook pages. Ha ha ha. Yes, we're BOTH total computer dorks. :) 
We've been trying out some photo shoots together, scouting new fields and locations, braving Texas-sized mosquitos, fire ants and a sometimes grumpy toddler... and just laughing at the chaos!! But I *am* loving some of the results!! 
Tonight it's my turn to be the subject... eek. Gillian is a wizard though, and I know she'll make us look FABULOUS. I can't wait. 
So here's my GORGEOUS, wonderful, sweet blue-eyed Canadian sweetie... Gillian. :) 
(Oh, and yes, she LOVES to tease us about our accents! HA HA HA. She says Jasper's is especially thick.)
This is sweet little Lucia, Gillian's youngest of THREE girls (yes, she manages to take care of THREE girls under the age of 5, run a VERY successful photography business AND have AWESOME hairdos every day! I don't know HOW she does it... but she does!!) I think Lucia's been enjoying having Mommy all to herself for a few days. Doesn't she look happy? 

SPEAKING of Lucia... whoops, darn, the doorbell just woke her up... ohhhhh noooo. :( Hopefully I'll be back tomorrow to blog some photos of me and my kiddos... FUN stuff! 

If you want to check out Gillian's INCREDIBLE work... go to www.gigiphotography.com or have a peek at her cool blog at www.gigiphotography.com/blog. 

Have a GREAT day! 

Friday, April 17, 2009

It's the little things...

I love regular ol' days in my life. Sometimes I think it's these regular ol' days I adore the most. Not the big exciting special days full of events and parties and sports and travel... but the days at home, just being us, doing what we do. 
Yesterday was one of those days. Nothing special, and yet, I loved it. :)
Here are some snapshots, all from yesterday... to show you what I mean. 
Planted some flowers. I think these African Daisies are my new favorites. The colors just blow my mind. 
Picked the kids up from school and Kathryn was quite chatty because they'd seen "THE FILM" in school. ;) I remember that film well. Big day for those kiddos. Anyway, then we were hanging out and the kids were telling me stories from their day, eating their after school snacks and I noticed they were pretty darned cute sitting together, in their shirts that kinda matched with all the colors, so I asked if they'd oblige me and sit for a couple of quick pics... 
Roxie wasn't really cooperating, as usual. She is, I swear, the CUTEST stinkin' dog you've ever laid eyes on... and yet she's so unphotogenic it's not even funny. She HATES my camera. She's a tough client. Anyway, this one still makes me smile. 
And this photo ("Come on, PLEASE, just put your arm around him for ONE second and let me take a picture!") cost me exactly $4 and four pieces of Easter candy. These kids have learned to drive a hard bargain when it comes to photo bribes!!
This is Kathryn explaining to me that I was now OVER my 5-photo limit and so I owed them MORE Easter candy. Ha ha ha. 
And this is Jasper's latest obsession... fortune tellers. Do you remember making these as a kid? I used to LOVE them. Funny how little things like this resurface and bring back memories!! Anyway, Jasper discovered that one thing even MORE fun than the regular sized fortune tellers is MINIATURE fortune tellers. We have, with no exaggeration, about 3 dozen of these things all around the house and every five seconds Jasper comes up to you... "Pick a color!!" giggle giggle "Pick a number!" giggle giggle "Pick another number!" 
Sometimes you get lucky and get something like "I like you" or "You are cool." But don't be fooled. Most of the time you get something more along the lines of "Your butt is so big that the universe is falling." Ohhhhhhhhkay.
After my "big butt" fortune, Roxie and I decided to go for a stroll in the field across from our house. I almost stepped on a tarantula (ew!) and was trying to lure it back out of its hole so I could take a picture of it when John came driving up from work. Of course, Roxie goes BALLISTIC when she sees him... especially when he races her through the field! She LOVES this game... and she's so beautiful when she's running this fast... just a big black and white blur with a huge grin on her face. It's fun and totally terrifying to watch the race... I'm sooooooo scared that one day Roxie is going to get a little too close to the tire and get squashed... EEK. But she seems to be a pretty good judge...
And they're off! (Click on the photo to see it larger... I didn't have my zoom lens on my camera!)
Uh oh, now she's gaining on him...
Oh yeah!! 
Roxie wins again! (John usually lets her win so she'll have good doggie self esteem.) Seeeeee... she is TOTALLY smiling!!!!
That's it. Just little details of my happy day. Just us. Doing what we do. :)