Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Ahhh...Christmas Break

So the whole family has been home together for about twelve days now. Christmas week isn't exactly a good time for job-hunting, but Trey's been doing what he can. We've recognized that it's a blessing to have him home while we're all off.

The children. Well, I don't know if you know this about my kids, but they're crazy. They tackle one another at least twice per hour just for good measure. I think they must be afraid of carpet because if they can see it, they have to immediately get out everything they can find and cover it up. Everything - and I mean everything - is more fun if you throw it. Balls, sure, but also candy canes, plastic food from the toy kitchen, m&ms, shoes, socks, ornaments, clothes, hot wheels, everything.

Tattling is also a favorite past time of children. There must be a secret contest somewhere to determine the grand champion tattler, and Keaton must be in the finals or something. After the 112th time he started a sentence with "Tucker did..." Trey had enough. He answered Keaton's complaint (I think it was "Tucker hit me") with "Oh, good! Good job, Tucker!"

Keaton gave a little nod and turned around to trot off - his job of being the little tattle tale was done. He took about two steps and then whirled around on one foot, a look of disgust on his face. "WHAT??? I SAID Tucker HIT me!"

"Yeah, I know," Trey replied nonchalantly. We laughed and laughed as Keaton got more and more offended. Yes, we're terrible people.

The boys have had some interesting conversations, though. Just a few minutes ago they were taking turns throwing a plastic egg into my cup of water from across the room, and a program on the TV caught their attention. It was one of those talk shows where a zookeeper was bringing on various animals. Here's the conversation they had:

Keaton: Is that a cheeto?
Tucker (exasperated at his younger brother's lack of knowledge): No! That's a leopard.
Keaton: Oh, I thought it was a cheeto.
(the plastic egg flies, the next animal comes out)
Tucker: Look! It's a chimp-a-zene!
Keaton: What?
Tucker (explaining in all of his wisdom): It's a chimp-a-zene. See, it looks like a monkey.

Well, I better go check on things. I don't hear much going on right now, and any mom worth her salt knows it can only be the calm before the storm. Should I check on them? Just lock my bedroom door and turn up the TV really loud? I suppose if the fire alarm goes off, I'll hear it.

Before I could spell check they returned. They were carrying a six foot long metal bar, claiming that it "fell off" Tucker's bed. When does school start?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Christmas Pics

The family on Christmas morning - all of us in our Christmas jammies!

My sweet boys show off their Christmas morning pjs.

Tucker and Keaton got their daddy a bike so they could all go ride together. They were so excited to wheel it in to him!

Keaton's favorite gift was the new truck Santa brought him. He's had a blast with it inside, but I can't wait until it stops raining long enough to park it outdoors!

Of course, Tucker has most enjoyed his Backyard Football game for the Wii, his new Cowboys uniform, and his new Nerf Cowboys football. He says he can throw great spirals with this ball, and most of the time he can. Sidenote: Keaton also got a Cowboys jersey - the very gift that Tucker convinced him to ask Santa for. It wasn't the right number, but Santa did his best.

Then we have the Fathead that Santa brought Tucker. It's a lifesize cutout of Andre Johnson, one of his favorite players for the Texans. You can also see the Texans logo Tucker made himself and taped to the wall in the bottom right corner. He is proud about the fact that he comes up to Andre's elbow. (and Keaton never missed a photo opportunity)

And finally, my favorite non-person-having picture. The Fathead came with lots of other little vinyl stick-ons, including the player's name and number (which you can see in the above picture). It also came with this stick-on that says "Are you fan enough?" Tucker promptly pasted the sticker on the playroom door, and then, in true Tucker fashion, answered the question. I'll be laughing about this for a long, long time.

Check out all the family Christmas pics here.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Random Christmas Eve Musings

We had a great Christmas Eve. We finished the last bit of shopping; made nanaimo bars, armadillo eggs, toffee, and tomorrow morning's breakfast casseroles; went to church; and laughed uncontrollably at our kids who are, quite literally, like kids on Christmas.

As we were leaving for church, Keaton insisted that he take two Bibles with him. So we frantically searched for the specific Bibles he needed, and then ran to the car. There, Tucker realized he didn't have a Bible and asked Keaton if he would share one of the two he had. Keaton refused, so I explained that we were celebrating Jesus's birthday, and Jesus asks us to share with one another. Keaton thought for a moment, and then stated firmly, "I will share in three weeks."

Of course, we accidentally left the two Bibles in the car when we went into church. Keaton begged and begged for us to go back to the car to get them, but the service has started so I told him no. Finally, he acquiesced to my decision and opened up one of the pew Bibles during the sermon.

When the preacher made the first of his three points, that God wants you, Keaton replied in his best preacher voice, "God wants you!" The stares from the people around us made me turn my attention quickly to my youngest son. He sat there with the upside-down Bible on his lap, completely wrapped up in the Christmas message.

When he saw me looking at him after his spirit-filled outburst, he tapped the upside-down Bible and whispered, "I need my glasses."

I have to point out here that Keaton doesn't wear glasses. However, his Mimi, Papa, Grandma, and Pop all comment about needed their glasses when there's something they need to read.

His request sent me into silent, uncontrollable laughter. I could feel my shoulders shaking, and I knew that at any moment my audible cackling would interrupt church. Once I composed myself, I looked to Trey and whispered to him that Keaton needed his glasses. Trey didn't miss a beat. He handed me the sunglasses he was wearing on top of his head, and I passed them to Keaton.

And there he sat through the rest of the message. Keaton Hickman, 3 1/2 years old,wearing his most serious expression, sporting adult sunglasses and alternately studying a preaching minister and an upside-down Bible. If I had taken my phone into church, I would have taken a picture even though every part of me knows it would have been wrong to do so in the middle of the service. It was that funny.

We came home from church, had baths, and put out our cookies and milk for Santa. The boys sang various new versions of Feliz Navidad, incuding "I wanna wish you a feliz navidad," and "Feliz navidad to you." As I was writing this, I had to pause to see Keaton perform "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas."

And soon they'll be asleep with visions of sugarplums (okay, football jerseys and candy) dancing in their heads. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Why We'll be Terrible Old Ladies

My friend Erin's mom died suddenly on Sunday morning. Erin and I are the same age, and her mom was only 58. The memorial service was today. It was unique, personal, and beautiful. Several people spoke, people who knew Linda (Erin's mom) from all times and walks of her life - a childhood friend, a teacher friend, a boating buddy, and others. I had met Erin's mom at least once, but I didn't really know her. However, I'm certain I would have liked her very much. Her daughter, my friend, turned out pretty well, so she must have been a great mom.

On Sunday morning my friends and I became grown ups dealing with grown-up things like losing parents. One other friend confessed she didn't know what to say. Lord knows I didn't either. If you know me, you know I have no emotional control when it comes to tears, and I'm going to cry and cry and cry and there's nothing I can do about it. When it came to what to say, my friend Tiffany was way better than I because she could speak. I was just a blubbering mess. Thank God for text messages. They're comprehensible even when the sender is a total wreck.

Today we drove down for the memorial, and we saw Erin handle every moment with such grace that I am still in awe. We just stood around and took instructions. It's weird to be a grown-up when you don't know what to do. Please say a special prayer for this family as they deal with this devestating loss.

Now on to the terrible old lady part. Our other friend April went with us to the service even though she had a beast of a cold. During the service, April started coughing and couldn't stop. Now, this was not one of those loud, hacky coughs. She was trying not to make any noise so she just kind of sucked air for a minute or two. I felt bad for her, but I was quite impressed with her self-control. As she gasped, relief came flying at her from all around us. Lozenge-like medication was pelted at her from every old lady within two rows.

Neither Tiffany nor I had any throat relief at all. I'm afraid we shall be terrible old ladies.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Visit with Santa

For weeks we prepared for our visit with Santa. We asked the boys what they would tell Santa they wanted. Keaton came up with various things - usually whatever he saw on TV last or what someone was playing with at school that day. Once he was going to ask for Barbies, then race cars, then a dump truck and some mulch so he could help me in the backyard, then, finally, a robot.

Now, you may be asking yourself, how did a three year old come up with the idea to ask for a robot? An older brother, of course! Consistently, Tucker's answer to the Santa question (or the Jolly Old Guy, as he sometimes calls him) was this: "a robot that will throw footballs to me when Daddy gets tired." Because of his brother, Keaton decided he needed a robot.

The moment of truth finally arrived, and in the car on the way to the mall we asked one last time. What will you be asking Santa for? That's when Tucker threw us for a loop (big surprise, right?).

He explained in great detail what he would like for Christmas -- a Dallas Cowboys uniform without the helmet because he already has one. However, this uniform needs to have the number 80 on it and the name Bennett on the back. For those of you who haven't yet memorized players of various football teams and their numbers, Martellus Bennett is a tight end for the Cowboys who used played college ball for the Aggies. Yes, he is number 80.

Okay, so Tucker and his too-specific, number happy request wasn't all that surprising. Of course he had a request like that - I would expect nothing less. The twist came next.

In the small amount of time it took us to get from our house to the mall - approximately 13 minutes - he convinced Keaton to ask for a Cowboys uniform, too (with the helmet because Keaton doesn't have one). Keaton eagerly agreed to request a uniform with the number 81 and the name Owens on the back. That's right - my poor, happy-go-lucky, unsuspecting Keaton decided then and there to ask for Terrell Owens's uniform.

Imagine Santa's surprise. Tucker was nervous about talking to him and could hardly keep his hands out of his mouth the whole time. He did manage to explain in clear detail the football uniform of his choosing, and you should have seen Santa's face. He asked Tucker "What?," but he was looking at me.

"Martellus Bennett's Cowboys uniform," I replied. Duh, Santa.

Then, sure enough, Tucker prompted his brother to ask for TO's uniform, and Keaton gleefully did as he was told. Santa looked at me again, more confusion on his face, and I could only reply "He wants Terrel Owens's uniform." Santa seemed genuinely confused by this. They must not get Fox at the North Pole.

Anywa, wish Santa luck!

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Yep. I'm playing with layout on the ol' blog.

Am I avoiding unpacking from our weekend trip and cleaning my house? Absolutely.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Keaton Version

Keaton heard the song "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" for the first time recently. It must have been on the radio or something - I don't remember.

Anyway, he's been singing his own version of the song ever since - "Papaw ran over a reindeer! Reindeer! Reindeer!"

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas List

Today at school Tucker made a Christmas list. Here it is (spelling intact).

my Dad a jod (I'm pretty sure he meant job)
a good Christmas to give love and joy and help pepul
for Jesus to have a good birthday

Keaton would like a robot and some birthday cake

Friday, December 12, 2008

Just another Christmas movie?

There's some random animated Christmas movie on tonight, and the boys decided to put on their pajamas and lay down to watch the movie. This was a great idea! We got them ready for bed, Trey put their pillows on the couch in our room, and they curled up to watch the movie.

I came into the living room where the movie is also on, and began to pick up what's left of our night at home together. As I was cleaning, I heard some lines from the movie. Apparently Nico the reindeer is quizzing three grown-up reindeer to determine which of them slept with his mother one Christmas Eve. He wants to know who his father is.

Really???? A Christmas cartoon all about the search for a reindeer Baby Daddy? I think I am appalled.

On another note, Tucker got in trouble for being mean to another kid at Kids Club. Then he got home and was in BIG trouble for this incident, and he hates to be in trouble. Trey (after he decided not to kill Tucker) had him read Ephesians 4:32 "Be ye kind to one another." Then they talked about how God wants us to treat other people kindly, even with our words.

I was proud of them both.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Snow Pics!

After I left this morning, Trey and the boys played in the snow! Here are the pics he sent me:

The Great Blizzard of 2008

I had the privilege this morning of traveling with the school district leadership to the Food for Families Food Drive to deliver canned goods that were collected at our schools. The leadership team from the high school makes this trip each year, but this was my first time to go. This privilege included getting up at 5 a.m. so that I could board the bus at 6 a.m. with everyone else.

Now, 5 a.m. doesn't exist in my world unless there's a sick child in my bed. This occurred just yesterday when Tucker couldn't stop coughing at 5 a.m. Thankfully, Trey didn't have to work yesterday (more on that another time) so he took Tucker in the living room to give him a breathing treatment and let me continue sleeping until my 6:30 wake up time.

So at five o'clock this morning (okay, it was like 5:06) I crawl out of bed and into the bathroom to get ready. Over my blaring radio I could hear the leaky faucet in my bathtub getting louder and louder. I thought to myself, "Trey should try to fix that while he's home. I'll have to start dropping hints about it." The sound continued to get louder. Finally I glanced over at the tub and noticed that the sound didn't match up with the drips of water coming from the faucet. Was my brain awake? Were my sleepy eyes playing tricks on me?

I turned off the radio momentarily to concentrate on the drips only to discover that the sound was coming from the window and it was caused by sleet! Yesterday it was 70 something degrees - I didn't even wear a jacket - and now it's sleeting. And I'm about to go stand outside in the great blizzard of 2008 for this food drive. Great.

However, all is not lost with me. I'm trying this new thing where I remember to be grateful for all of my blessings first thing in the morning instead of waiting for a less un-Godly hour when I'm more awake. I checked my attitude, got ready, and started to bundle up. Trey got up, too, at some point. He checked the weather, peeked out the window, informed me that I was going to be cold, and then kissed me goodbye before heading back to bed. His moral support that early in the morning made me feel good - he and Tucker are the only people I know who are less of a morning person than I (morning people? whatever).

Off I go on empty, dark streets amidst rain and sleet and snow. It was still and quiet, yet somehow I was awake and alive and excited about the snow. I thought about the cold, and then I remembered that I was going to a food drive. Being cold for a few minutes was nothing compared to being worried about feeding your family, so I began to welcome the opportunity to freeze outside. The snow and the sleet just added to my Christmas spirit. Was it snowing in Bethlehem? Did Mary look out at sleet?

As we left the administration building to load into the special "Tiger Pride" school bus I was grinning like kid. It was snowing these real snowflakes - not the kind you have to squint to see and convince yourself it's actual snow. They were substantial, stick to your eyelashes, reflecting under-the-street-lamp snowflakes.

Someone had decorated the Tiger Pride bus with Christmas lights, and our former principal "made" us sing Christmas carols on the way to the food drive. It was wonderful! Snow falling on a cold, pitch-dark morning as we bumped down an empty highway in the bus - it was a perfect picture to save in my memory.

Now back to the snowflakes - okay loosely back to the snowflakes. I have this thing about rain. There was a vacation Bible school song when I was a kid called "It's Beginning to Rain" (at least I think it was VBS). Anyway, it goes like this:

"It's beginning to rain, hear the voice of the Father
Saying whosoever will come and drink of this water
I will pour my blessings out on your sons and your daughters
So if you're thirsty and dry, look up to the sky
It's beginning to rain."

So I have this weird kind of obsession with rain and rainy days and gloomy days and cloudy days and such. I tell Trey that my obsession is Biblical - the rain is a way that God still physically, tangibly blesses us today. He waters the flowers, the farmer's crops, gives new life to stagnant rivers and lakes, and makes a great day to read a book. I see rain as a symbol of God's blessings. It's Him saying "Hey! Remember me? Your Heavenly dad? I got this. I'm taking care of you, remember."

"Look up to the sky. It's beginning to rain."

This morning, when on any other day of the year I would be sleeping, it rained giant, eyelash tickling snowflakes.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Insert Clever Title Here

I should blog something terribly witty.

But I have a cold, and so do the other three people who live here.

Sometimes I wish I had a million dollars, but then on days like today I remember that I would still have a cold and papers to grade if I had a million dollars. And then I remember my sweet and inspiring friend Emily and her blog post about how because I have a car I'm like one of the three richest people in the world or something. (You can check her awesome blog out here: http://plasticcupcake.wordpress.com/page/3/) And then I feel kind of greedy for wishing I had a million dollars.

While on vacation, I was inspired to write this brilliant post about nakedness and vanity, and I had these beautiful lines already composed in my brain, and it was moving.

But then this cold began to impede my creative writing genius.

So here are pictures of my kids and Elvis the Hound Dog with Dad's chickens. Standby for brillance at a later date.