Monday, February 23, 2009

Keaton's Interview

I totally stole this idea from my friend Lisa. She read somewhere about interviewing your kids with these same questions every so often to see how they grow and change. I loved it, so I stole it.

I'd like to say that while Keaton was being interviewed, he was spinning in the spinny chair the entire time. Picture him with his long, curly hair blowing in the spinny-generated wind, pondering over these life questions with extreme seriousness. And ponder he did. It was hysterical.

Let the interview begin.

What is your name?

How old are you?

Where do you live?

Do you have any pets?
yeah, a dog

Can you tell me something about her?
One dog and she's big and her name was Sally and guess what? she used to jump on me and it was...the little dog doesn't jump on me and she goes outside and she has a kennel. Her name is Isabelle

Who do you like to play with?
Miller and Jackson and my brother

What is your favorite Cereal?
Fruit Loops

What is your favorite vegetable?
hamburgers and that's gonna was gonna be...that's gonna be a hard one.

What is your favorite drink?
um...root beer

What is your favorite snack?
batman fruit roll-ups and cookies - you member those chocolate cookies that we have here? That's my favorite snack and they have chocolate on them and just the cookie dough. Hey, me and daddy ate some biscuits.

What is your favorite toy?
My big truck

What is your favorite book?
it's one of my books but it's gonna's not a scary one...It's...(then with a big TADA!) Danny and the Dinosaur

What is your favorite restaurant?
ooooo (he was so excited about this question)...McDonalds and Freebirds

What is your favorite holiday? and...uh...summer

What is your favorite animal?
a dog and a sheep and a horse and a cow

If you could change your name to anything, what would you change it to?
I will change it to...Tucker. HAHAHAHAHAHA...yeah, that would be funny! What if my name was Tucker and his name was Tucker? That would be silly.

What do you love about your Dad?
Um, I will say...I love him. I don't know.

What do you love about your Mom?
Uh...I don't know.

You can't think of anything?
No. What about what's my favorite picture? I think, how about, let's see...move on to the next question. (I might be getting a complex here.)

What is your favorite TV show?
I will say Little Bill

Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Uh...I will say yeah. Guess what I like? I still like those apples, bananas, and...that's it.

That's my baby boy - always entertaining!

Tucker's Interview

This is Tucker's official interview. I actually talked to him first while Keaton was in the bath because I didn't want them to re-use each other's answers.

Please notice that this is my pragmatic child. He answered all questions quickly and succintly, providing no information other than what was requested. I should also note that, ever the grown-up, he conducted his own interview of Trey tonight, too, and typed in all the answers on the computer.

Here goes:
What is your name?

How old are you?

Where do you live?
College Station, Texas

Do you have any pets?

Who do you like to play with?

Anybody else?
Luke, Andrew and John

What is your favorite Cereal?
Uh...Cheerios..wait, Honeycombs

We've never, ever had honeycombs before. Tucker's answer made Trey inquire as to the source of Tucker's honeycombs experience. Tucker said he eats them at his school and they're good and we should buy them.

What is your favorite vegetable.
a carrot

What is your favorite drink?
chocolate milk

What is your favorite snack?
cheese and crackers

What is your favorite toy?
a football

What is your favorite book?
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

What is your favorite restaurant?
Mi Cocina (he eats tortillas and shredded cheese there)

What is your favorite holiday?

What is your favorite animal?
a tiger

because they're really cool

If you could change your name to anything, what would you change it to?
much laughter, then "that's a hard one!," then "I gotta think!"

Finally, "Wait! Mario! I thought of that name because of Mario Williams, a defensive player for the Texans."

What do you love about your Dad?
he plays catch with me

What do you love about your Mom?
that she takes care of me

What is your number one wish for this year?
I wish I had another Cowboys football like my other one that I lost.

What is your favorite TV show?
Full House

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I think Tucker likes me best.

Why do I think this? Tucker went to the basketball game with his grandparents, and we met up with them after the game at the A&M gymnastics meet. We watched my niece compete then came home. I went to get a pedicure.

While I was gone, Tucker threw up.

When I got home, he was perfectly fine. Trey had to stop him from playing the Wii, and he ran to meet me when I came in the door. We had dinner (Tucker was even hungry), bathed the boys, cleaned up a little, and then I got in the bath.

Tucker threw up again.

Apparently he wants to spare me from his puking. He must like me best!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Awful Has Happened

Yes, that's right. Awful.

Tonight at the annual Welcome to the Jungle event, I was discussing the various English course offerings with a parent. Then, out of nowhere, one of my very favorite people from two banks ago (thanks, Trey) sweetly interrupted the parent to say hello to me. It was one of those things where she just had to stop and give me a hug, and I was so glad she did because I just love her.

Sidebar - I've gained about fifteen pounds since school started. To admit to the blog-world that I have gained fifteen pounds in five and a half months is a big step, except that I think about five pounds of it is in my face which makes it no big secret. The other ten have made themselves comfortable right around my midsection which precludes me from wearing many of the clothes in my closet. I mostly wear colors that are good on me in "blousy" or 'drape-y" kinds of styles to cover my expansion. I know it doesn't really work, but at least I'm making the effort, okay? On the up side, if I weighed 500 pounds and gained 15 it probably wouldn't be noticeable. I've decided to take The Awful as a testimony to my former fitness and be done with it.

Do you see where this is going? Here's how it went down.

Sweet girl says, "I'm so sorry to interrupt you but I have got to give this girl a hug!" Then she reaches across the table, hugs me, steps back, and gives her tummy a little pat. Yep. She did it. It was a "so there's another little baby coming along, huh?" kind of pat.

In front of my friends and a random freshman parent I don't know.

After calling special attention from everyone around us about the fact that we were old friends catching up.

Oh, the horror of it all!

So, I thought this would be an appropriate time to cover the best reaction to give a person who asks if you're pregnant when, in reality, you've just packed on a few.

Option #1: Punch her in the face. Now, this is not a recommended option, especially if this is a person you really like as in my case. However, I'm certain that when the cops show up and you explain the situation, their response will be something like, "Oh you poor thing! I'm just glad you didn't kill her! That color looks great on you, by the way." So I suppose if you harbor a strong dislike for this person and/or she is incredibly skinny, the face-punching could work.

Option #2: Cry. Sob. Fall down in the floor and weep. In this case, the offender will probably try to comfort you to no avail and then slowly back away in embarrassment. While this option will call more attention to the situation at hand, you can be sure that the offender will never do that again. Additionally, someone near you will likely say, "That color looks great on you, by the way!" Compliments are always good.

Option #3: Be cool. This is the option I chose to try. However, I am decidedly not cool, so I'm not so sure it worked. I nonchalantly flipped my hand in the air and said, "No girl, I'm just fat. Those two boys keep me busy enough!" Then I turned back to the stunned parent, fumbled for words that were somehow related to what we had been talking about likely made me sound like a complete idiot. I figured acting like it was no big deal might keep everyone around me from wanting to crawl under the table.

Then I turned to my friends standing around me, commented on the awkwardness of the situation and moved on. Basically, it sucked.

If you're looking for me on Monday afternoon, I'll be walking laps around the high school. Next time you see me tell me I look skinny.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

What they learn from Papa

This is a song played by the Aggie Band. I wasn't aware it had words until Trey's dad taught the words to the boys. They've both been singing it non-stop for a few days, so I thought I'd share. Notice I have one concentrating and one performing.

The words, I think, are these, "Late one night when the t-sips were in bed, Ol' Sul Ross put a lantern in a shed. Aggie kicked it over, winked his eye and said, "There'll be a hot time in Austin tonight.'"


Friday, February 13, 2009

A Loss

This week I lost a student. He was smart and funny and just a great kid. I miss him.

It breaks my heart to think of the dark place he must have been in. It breaks my heart.

I am in awe of the incredible strength my students have shown. They are unconditionally loving to one another. They cry together, hold each other. My little sixth period class is an unlikely family, and they are now forever bonded together by tragedy.

Before this, of course I loved them. I was their teacher. The person who bears witness to their growth and success this year and then waves to them in the hall and writes them letters of recommendation next year as they apply to far-off exotic colleges or to be Aggies like me. Now I just want to hold them and help them find some peace in all this.

Please pray for a family, a team, a class, and a school. Pray that those without faith will find it. Pray for a mom and dad and brothers who will never be the same. Pray that their already strong faith will be the constant in all they say and do and think in the coming days.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

We Have Arrived

For Christmas I was given a Garmin, one of those navigation systems that connects to a satellite. It has this little Garmin Lady inside who translates the information from the satellite and tells me where to turn, how long it’s going to take to get where I’m going, etc.

I’m currently in San Antonio to attend a conference, and the drive here was the first chance Garmin Lady and I had to really get to know each other. I typed in the hotel address before I left home, she generously estimated my arrival time at 8:44 pm, and then we began our adventure.

Things didn’t start out so well. When I turned off of Wellborn Road (still in College Station) to grab some supper at the Sonic, she didn’t even seem to notice. I quickly realized that I was receiving her silent judgment. I could feel her commenting to her satellite friends about how I didn’t really need a fritos chili cheese wrap. Wasn’t there something healthier on the menu? And why order a diet cherry limeade when you’re basically having a chip sandwich? Yes, I understood her deafening silence, and I didn’t appreciate it at all.

But we pressed on. When she had me “Exit Right” to get to University even though I always go through the intersection and turn left, I followed her directions. I was doing my best to make up for my Sonic sins. I was trusting her.

Things went well for a while. She listened as I sang my new favorite Kanye West song to her, and I think she appreciated my electronica impersonation. I’m pretty sure we were doing a duet on a Kelly Clarkson song, and I think Garmin Lady was smiling. We were having a great time. We had bonded.

Then, suddenly, something happened. She snapped, “Stay Left.” I did this to get on Highway 21, and then she got really short with me. She abruptly stated, “In 66 miles, turn right.”

Then she started ignoring me.

I channel-surfed on the radio trying to find a song she liked. I sang my very best version of Pink’s “Sober.” I found Charlie Daniels’s “Devil Went Down to Georgia” on the radio and played air-fiddle for her while I was driving – not an easy feat. I’m not going to lie, I even asked Garmin Lady if I had done something to offend her.

She still ignored me.

As we traveled through Bastrop she gave me succinct directional instruction, nothing more and nothing less. After I turned onto a highway I don’t think I’ve heard of before, she basically told me to leave her alone for 36 miles. That’s when our trust issues started.

I remembered my previous drives to San Antonio. Wasn’t there a four lane road from Bastrop to San Marcos? Why was I in the country? I realized then that her satellite friends told her to send me down this two-lane road because they knew about the 1954 Ford pick-up pulling a hay trailer going 35 miles an hour. They plotted together to sabotage this leg of my trip. I understood then that I was only a periphery friend. Apparently she cares more about her satellite friends than me. I hope they had a good laugh at my expense.

Once we reached San Marcos, I decided to confront her. “Garmin Lady,” I said, “It doesn’t feel very good to be the butt of a joke. But we’re on this trip together, and I’m trying really hard to be the bigger person-slash-electronic device. Just to show how much I care, I’m going to leave your power on while I go in this gas station to potty and get a bottle of water. While I’m gone, maybe you should think about what you’ve done.”

Well, things sure looked up then. We traveled down I-35, and she was kind enough to share not only how many miles to my next exit, but the exit number as well. We found some old Chicago songs on the radio and sang the lines together like we really meant them, “Just you and me, simple and free…”

Once in San Antonio, I think she might have been a little nervous with all of the exits closed and detours, so I turned off the radio out of respect for her expertise. I listened carefully as she calmly asked me to “Exit Left” and “Stay Right.” Things were going well. I was quite surprised when I was about to turn right (just like she said), and she anxiously yelled, “Recalculating! Recalculating!”

“Stop it, Garmin Lady!” I shouted. “I did exactly what you said! Don’t you go ‘recalculating’ on me now! We’re almost there, so you better get it together!”

My pep talk helped. She composed herself, and minutes later I could see the hotel on the horizon. As we pulled into the parking lot, she announced with pride and satisfaction, “Arriving at DESTINATION on right!”

Yes, Garmin Lady, we have arrived. And we did it together.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Exactly what kind of assistance are we talking about here?

We're sitting in the drive through at McDonalds, and Tucker starts to read the sign on the window.

Tucker: "Shirt required" (I helped him with that one) "Must have shoes." "No Pets" "Assistance Dogs Allowed" (I helped with assistance, too) Mom, what does that mean?

Me: Assistance dogs are dogs that help people. Like when a blind person has a dog that helps tell them when to cross a street.

Tucker: Oh, yeah. I know what that is.

Keaton: I have an assistance my green house.

Tucker: Who at you green house is blond?

Keaton: The mom. The mom at my green house is blond so she has an assistance dog.

Tucker: I thought you would say it's her.

Keaton: Yeah, my green house mom just got her hair done.

Monday, February 2, 2009

By Popular Demand...

...the dead bobcat. I think Daddy guessed it at eighteen inches tall and 50 pounds. He also commented that the funniest thing about the whole ordeal was seeing Mom in a nightgown, coat, and work boots holding the flashlight for him in the pre-dawn hours. I have to admit that's a great mental picture!
I seriously cannot believe I'm actually posting a dead animal picture here. We've entered a new realm, I'm afraid.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Are You Excited?

First, if you're looking for the post about dead animals and church, keep scrolling. It's right after this one.

Our exciting news of the week is that Trey has a new job! He starts tomorrow, and after ten weeks without work he is ready to go. Thanks to all of you who have prayed wihtout ceasing for this blessing.

But the most exciting part of him accepting this job is that it wasn't all that exciting. I mean, we're grateful, happy, relieved, and a million other things, but we've learned much in ten weeks.

I suppose the first thing we've learned (or maybe just been reminded of) is not to worry. When Trey lost his job, I was so scared. What if we have to sell our house and live in a small, more affordable apartment? What if we have to move to a city where we don't know anyone? What if I have to leave my school and my friends for some unknown job? What if we have to declare bankruptcy?

As the days and weeks ticked by slowly, with us less and less in control of our world, the what ifs breathed down my neck. I began to worry in the morning before I was even really awake. I found myself dangerously close to tears pretty much all the time. These things - house, reputation, money - began to consume me. A few short months ago I would call all of these blessings from God and now they were my curse.

But somehow, in the never-quiet evenings with my boys or the beautifully quiet evenings after they were sound asleep, God whispered.

"If you're able to sleep at night because all your bills are paid, then you'll never rest."

"If you think your children's laughter has anything to do with the square footage of your house, you're naive."

"If your reputation is based on the haves and have-nots of your life, then you have the wrong people defining your reputation."

All my life, I have known full well that the things of this world are temporary. But in my comfort I began to see them as part of who I am - part of who my family is. In the face of being without, I figured out how very "with" I am.

In John 14:27, Jesus says, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

In the last few months I wrapped my arms around a very real peace that I haven't felt in a very long time. And God took the fear.

So on Thursday night when Trey officially accepted the job offer, we just looked at each other. We said we were excited, but we weren't the "just won the lottery" excited I expected us to be. We were relieved and grateful to not be moving, sure, but we expected this job. I wasn't reliant on it for peace.

Now tomorrow he starts a whole new professional adventure with new things to learn and new expereinces to experience. Keep praying for him because a new job is always a little scary.

And yes, I am excited. But I am more excited about the everlasting gifts of Christ. Hallelujah! (the Jason Castro version, of course)

True Story

Something has been eating Dad's chickens. For a while he was regularly catching raccoons, but I think after he got the hens all together in a pen (instead of having them roam free) the raccoon problem went away. Now that he has the birds penned, something's been digging underneath the pen to get to the hens. The roosters still roam, I think, and he's down to only a couple of them. I'm not sure how many hens are left, but he lost three hens last week.

Being the wonderful investigator that he is, he set up his deer camera to see what he was dealing with. Here's the culprit (That's a trap the chicken's in, by the way. Wouldn't you hate to be the slow one on the day Dad's picking a bird for the live trap):

He set some live traps but caught nothing. Next he got some steel traps from my granddad to catch the chicken killer.
Finally, this morning he had a good feeling. He took his pistol and went out just before daylight. He saw the cat then went back in the house to get a bigger gun. He had Mom hold the flashlight while he shot it twice. Once to kill it and once to make sure it was dead.

This being Sunday, he did what anyone else would do given the situation. He put the dead cat in the back of the truck and took it to church to show it off.

Nope, I am not kidding.
To those of you who recommend I write a book filled with these little anecdotes from country life - I now have some new material. Sometimes I really wonder why on earth anyone would live in the city like we do. Oh, the adventures we miss!
PS - Mom also sent a picture of the dead bobcat, too (kind of a before and after thing), but I decided to leave it off the blog.


I just counted, and I think I only read 17 books in 2008. Really?? I thought it would be many more, especially since I'm currently on my third book of 2009 and it's February 1st. I guess one of last year's books was The Grapes of Wrath, and that should count for like four books.

I hereby set my 2009 goal at 30 books!