Tuesday, November 4, 2008


So Halloween was a few days ago... I'm a little backed up on posting. Here is my #4 child in his halloween costume...No, we didn't do a cutesy costume for his first halloween. We went with what appeared to be a natural costume for him. My brother said that this is who he looked like when he was born so we ran with it...tell me, whaddyathink?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

To all the Moms out there...

I got this in an email from my mother-in-law:

Invisible Mother......

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room and ask to be taken to the store - while I'm on the phone.

Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'

Obviously not.

No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all.

I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated sum a cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going; she's going; she is gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England …

Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in.
I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself.
I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.'

It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription:

'To My Dear Friend, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:

1. No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names.

2. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished.

3. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.

4. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit a cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.' The workman replied, 'Because God sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place.

It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder, as one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.

The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'you're going to love it there.'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right.

And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Great Job, MOM!

Hope this encourages you when the going gets tough as it sometimes does.
We never know what our finished products will turn out to be because of our perseverance.

My camera is broken

I love taking pictures of my kids, my family, and my surroundings. I like going into my Photo Shop program and "messing" with my photos. And now, my digital camera is broken. I have had it for approximately 3 years. I have taken thousands of pictures with it. I miss it. I am going to have to replace it, but for the time being, cannot afford to. So if anyone knows of any camera give aways, please clue me in. On another note, I want to mention one of my other business ventures. My husband and I are shopkeepers on Cafepress. We have multiple simple shops and a couple of Premium shops. We sell tshirts and gift items such as mugs, clocks, hats, stickers, buttons, and just recently got to add Pure Digital Technologies Flip Mino Camcorders. These are mini digital camcorders that are about 2"x4" in size. Look at some of my newest creations for this item here. So if some of you purchase one of these or some of my other items (see main shop here) I will be able to purchase a new camera so that I can continue to share more lovely pictures with you! I also sell the Over the Shoulder Baby Holder slings if anyone is in need of an awesome baby carrier. If you are someone who keeps up with all of my blogs forgive me for seeing this post in more than one area. Carry on!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Had to share this one!

My kids tend to come climb in my bed in the early morning hours...especially if daddy's not home. Here they are on one of those mornings! I am hoping that I am not too late to enter this contest I found at 5minutesformom.com My kids could use a new bedding set! I would pick the Summer Breeze set as my prize!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A quick family get-away...

To St. Louis! We took the kids out of school early on Thursday for a long weekend in St. Louis... well, a short long weekend. My husband had to be there for training until Monday, so we decided to just drive down since it was just a 4 hour drive down, and then we could come back on Friday (Daddy had work to do after all), and we could visit my sister at Greenville College along the way. We left around 1:30pm and arrived in Greenville around 5-ish. My sister gave us a quick walking tour of the campus, her dorm, and some of her friends and then we went to dinner. After dinner we continued on to St. Louis. We got into our room and the kids went swimming. We all got some much needed rest and then got up the next morning, ate, and headed out for some field trips and then home...or so we thought!

First on our agenda was the Lewis & Clark Boat House. It was so cool! We got to see a diorama of their travels and the boats and the tools needed to build the boats. The kids picked out some inexpensive souveniers and we headed outside to the beach area along the river. The whole trip to this stop cost me a mere $9.00!! It was $2 for adults to enter the museum, and $1 for kids aged 3-17. So entrance was $5 and our souveniers were just $4.

Next stop...the Gateway Arch. This was such a neat thing. The Arch stands 630 feet in the air. And you can actually take a tram up to the top... but we were on a budget so we didn't do it this time. We ate a picnic lunch on the lawn underneath the arch and then went into the underground museum beneath the arch. Entrance to the museum and gift shop was free, and we stopped in the old time mercantile for some candy sticks... 4 for $2.
So far our adventure has only cost us $11...

Last on our list for the day was the Cahokia Mounds area. Now, before reading about Cahokia Mounds in one of the brochures in the hotel, I don't believe I had ever heard about it. But it looked interesting and it was a free entrance also, they just had a suggested donation. We went and climbed the first mound we came to (oops! against the rules we later found out). And then we went to the Interpretive Center and Museum. We donated $2 and went on a self guided tour of the museum and then got to sit in on a film explaining the whole area of Cahokia Mounds. This area used to be home to over 20,000 indians. The mounds were used to bury their dead. The largest mound in the middle of the area is called Monks Mound and had the chief's home on top of it. It is the tallest earthen structure in the America's. Located in this area also is Wood Henge, the calender for the indians. It is a large circle of posts put into the ground with a post in the middle of the circle. It was a very educational stop. The kids had a great time and by the time we left we were exhausted.
So our day only cost us $13 plus the time and gasoline to do it all.
We started out for home...still at least 3-4 hours away and it was dinner time. The baby was hungry, so we pulled over at a McDonalds playplace for the middle 2 to play, while I fed the baby. We ordered some burgers off the $1 menu ($5.34) and called daddy to ask we could come back and spend the night :) We turned around and headed back to the hotel where the kids went swimming once again, and Mommy, Daddy, & baby relaxed in front of a movie.
We got up and had breakfast, watched another movie and headed out around 11-ish. We made it home by 3pm, got the van unloaded and relaxed for the evening... tomorrow is another full day with the oldest boy's baseball games. I hope you enjoyed our tours with us!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Mommy's shrunken brain...

I did my research. Okay, I did about a 5 minute google search and then relied on self experience. It is true...it has to be true. What else would explain this "mommy brain", also known as "pregnancy brain" or "baby brain". Since giving birth to my now 3 month old son...well, really, it was even before I gave birth... my brain has been complete mush. I think that anyone who has children can testify, that scientific research or no, something serious happens to our cognitive, (wow, big word for a mommy brain), abilities. I cant remember where I put the camera, I cant remember where I last saw the remote control, I have a hard time remembering a LOT of things. Even in my dreams I go through the motions of trying to do simple tasks with much difficulty. For example... last night I dreamed that I came upstairs to get some clothing for the baby and try as I might I could not get the outfit and the socks in hand at the same time to take back downstairs to dress my child. I would find the outfit and then in searching for the socks I would lay down the outfit and forget where I laid it, the process would repeat over and over again until I had both items but I also would have a stuffed animal or something else that was not needed for the task at hand and so I would try and lay that down and would drop one of the required items!! SO frustrating, no wonder I dont get good sleep! I cant tell you how many times I have gone upstairs to get something, only to be distracted by something else, and end up going downstairs without the intended item and having to go back up the stairs again to get said item. Sometimes this scenario repeats itself many times over before I actually succeed. I found two articles that related to this subject and I will place the links for them at the bottom. The first link actually has the 60 page research paper in pdf format in a link on that page, but my mommy brain didnt want to go so far as to read the whole thing...feel free to do so! So please if you ever encounter me and I have forgotten your name (yes it has happened to me several times recently, no recollection of this person who is talking to me face to face), please forgive me and my shrunken brain...I cant wait until it is back to full size!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

H.R. 5979: Stillbirth Awareness and Research Act

I post this in honor of my friend Marge's baby,Dekar, who lived only a short 8 hours until the Lord called him home... please copy and paste this into your blog to spread the word... THANKS!!

H.R. 5979: Stillbirth Awareness and Research Act

(Please copy to your blogs so this bill gets more exposure. THANK YOU!)

October 15th is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day in the United States. More than 25,000 children are stillborn in the United States every year leaving mothers, entire families and communities devastated. Estimates of the rate of occurrence of stillbirth make it at least as common as autism.

Stillbirth is not an intractable problem. Greater research would likely significantly reduce its incidence, but good research requires good data. H.R. 5979: Stillbirth Awareness and Research Act is under consideration by Congress. This proposed bill would standardize stillbirth investigation and diagnosis, thus providing more data for the needed research. Better research means fewer children born still.

On October 15th, remember the thousands of unfinished children lost and the families who remain to grieve them. Honor them by taking action. Let’s help pass H.R. 5979.

Action Steps:
Step 1. Use Your Blog to Enlist Others-Copy the contents of this entire post and publish it on your blog immediately.

GOAL: Enlist 10 of your readers to spread the word

Step 2. Use Your E-mail to Enlist Others-E-mail 5 bloggers and ask them (nicely and in an unspammy way) to publish these action steps on their blog. Consider contacting celebrity bloggers, political bloggers, medical bloggers, or bloggers who are not part of your reading community.

GOAL: Enlist 3 bloggers outside of your normal blog sphere to spread the word in other online communities.

Step 3. Help Pass the Stillbirth Awareness and Research Act-By October 15th, publish a post on your blog supporting H.R. 5979 Stillbirth Awareness and Research Act. For maximum impact, title your post: “Stillbirth Awareness and Research Act.”

GOAL: 1,000,000 Google results on October 15th when that term is searched for. Currently, Google only returns 20,400 pages - most of which have nothing to do with the bill.

Thank you to Antigone for starting this movement.

More information HERE

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

OH Happy Day!

That is what my daughter used to say when she got really excited about something. For example, when she was about 18 months old she wanted a little box opened and she couldn't do it so she asked her dad to open it. When she saw that he did she exclaimed Oh happy day!! and clapped her hands together. This is how I would describe my newest baby boy when he wakes every morning. It seems he greets each day with the attitude of "OH happy day!" We should all greet each new day with that attitude. The thought rolls through my mind "This is the day that the Lord has made, let us REJOICE and be GLAD in it!"

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Family Tradition

Boys and their sports teams... Most guys have some opinion about which sports teams they like to follow. My boys... from my husband down the littlest guy... follow the Texas Rangers during baseball season, the Dallas Stars during hockey season, the Dallas Mavericks during basketball season, and yes... America's team... the Dallas Cowboys during football season. (Are you seeing the trend here...) When I saw the baby Aikman jersey at the second hand store on fill-a-basket day, I had to have it. We even have a size 2 Cowboys uniform that I picked up at a yard sale way before my youngest son was born, back when I was "done" having kids! We had a little girl that it would fit, so she wore it! Well, here it is Cowboys season... so here are my guys... most of them anyway... in their game day gear...

Keeping it Clear

Okay... I decided to start a separate blog for things other than country living. I thought that my posts on my original blog... Country Life Adventures ... weren't keeping with the original intent of the blog and going a little astray. So here is the rest of my life... my Family Life Adventures.