Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween from KitKat and the Dubs!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Pumpkin carving.

Tonight our small group had its annual pumpkin carving party. We all gathered in a garage and driveway to carve our jack-o-lanterns, eat snacks, let the kids play, and enjoy each other's company. As always, it was a fun evening! We were especially happy to be there since Ryan and Katie both spent part of the weekend recovering from illnesses. Many thanks to our gracious hosts!

The wind made it difficult to keep all the jack-o-lanterns lit.

The dragon jack-o-lantern was Katie's creation. She and Ryan followed the stencil and carved it themselves.

Whoever could've created this one?

Plans A, B and C.

Plan A:
Katie goes to birthday/slumber party Friday night. I will pick her up Saturday morning on the way to Grapevine to drop off Ryan at another party. Katie and I will shop while Ryan parties. Brett will do some "guy stuff" with his buddies while we're away. After the party, we'll head to Memaw's to take care of a few errands for her. Later, Brett will take the kids to Trunk of Treats, the Halloween carnival at our church, while I watch Texas wallop Tech.

Plan B:
Ryan wakes up sick at 3 a.m. We decide he'll have to miss the Grapevine birthday party. Brett picks up Katie and brings her on home. Because I still have errands at Memaw's, Brett cancels his plans so he can stay home with Ryan, who's still a little puny. I run errands, and we make Ryan take it easy, just hoping he'll feel up to Trunk of Treats. At 6 p.m., Brett wakes him from a nap, but he doesn't feel perky enough to go. I stay home with Ryan while Brett takes Katie and a neighbor friend to the church building for the big event. In about an hour, though, Ryan starts to really wake up and REALLY wants to go to Trunks of Treats. I grab my little radio (the Horns are losing to Tech 21-0 at this point), Ryan brushes his teeth and hair, and we're out the door. Once we get there, we surprise Brett when we show up and have a happy little reunion.

Plan C:
We manage to hit a couple of trunks/games when--SURPRISE!!!--Katie starts feeling puny. Her throat and head hurt. Once again, our plans change. We cut our evening short to get both kids home. (And I get to see the Horns win another close one.)

Anyway, here are a few pix of the big event. We had a HUGE turnout, and even though our family was not running on all cylinders, we're all glad we could be there for at least a little while.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Since I'm up at 5:45 a.m. on a Saturday...

...how 'bout I get caught up on those vacation recaps? Now that we've been home from our vacation for three-plus months, I've finally written about our last full day in Southern California. I think it took me that long just to cool off enough to discuss that scorching day!

I back-dated it to Aug. 14, so it can be found here:

August Archive

When insomnia hits...

...post another cat photo!

I don't know what's up with me. On the rare Saturday when I can sleep in, I wake up early. Even on school days lately, I've been known to wake up well before the alarm. Then I'm stuck, wide awake! By the time first period starts, I'm already groggy. I'm ridiculously sleepy all day long, collapse into bed at night, then wake up too early the next morning. What a great cycle.

This morning Ryan woke me up because he wasn't feeling good. Since it was 3 a.m. when he came knocking, my body thinks, HOORAY! It's time to get up for the day! So here I am, adding yet another picture of ChaCha.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Yea, God!

Look, Ma! No surgery!

My mom got a good report from the orthopedic specialist today. She found out that her arm's fractured in two places, her shoulder and upper arm. (She's such an overachiever!) The doctor wants her to keep her arm in the sling for a while and to begin exercising her elbow to avoid damage to it. He'll see her again in a few weeks.

What a relief! We were anxious to hear what he had to say, hoping he wouldn't recommend surgery. Yea, God!

Speaking of "Yea, God" moments, some friends of a friend have experienced a miracle this week. Their son, Paul, has neuroblastoma and has been through all kinds of treatment to fight it. Over the weekend his mom and dad thought they'd found a new tumor, but by the time they made it to the hospital to check it out, the lump was gone. I know these people only through their blog, but I'm so honored to have "witnessed" this miracle. Here's their site if you want more info: http://www.saxonreport.blogspot.com/.

Ever had one of those days where you just needed some good news? Every day this week has been like that. There's a post on the Saxon Report about their "daily bread," and I can relate (even though my problems are miniscule compared to theirs). When everything reaches a boiling point and I feel like I can't get through one more day, God reaches out and blesses me, giving me just what I need. It might be a funny moment in the car with the kids or a student who makes an astute comment. It might be the perfect song coming on the radio at the perfect time. But today, I'm humbled by God's abundant grace and this good news for my mom and little Paul.

Yea, God!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

In which we catch up on some running storylines.

My mom
A week and a half after fracturing her shoulder, my mom is adapting as well as she can to being one-armed. She still can't drive, but she's learning how to use her left hand more and more. Her pain is managed as well as can be expected thanks to her newest prescription, and she's been spacing the doses out more and more as the pain will allow. More angels have come into our lives, bringing food and providing rides. The next big event comes tomorrow when she sees the orthopedic specialist. Please pray that she's progressing nicely and that tomorrow's appointment won't be a downer! She's ready to know the countdown's begun on her recovery.

He had his annual check-up at the H/O clinic yesterday, and as expected, he's doing very well. We did blood draws immediately before his factor infusion and then again one hour and six hours later. Once we have those results, we may be able to reduce his factor dose, which is still super-high because of his inhibitor. His doctor is encouraged that Ryan's so healthy and active, as are we! Praise God!

Our 9-year-old just made the Battle of the Books team at school! She's so excited about this opportunity, and her teacher is especially tickled that their school's team now has this secret weapon on its side.

The book proposal
Brett's book proposal was met with unanimous approval, and he signed a contract shortly after submitting it. The manuscript, due in February, will eventually be published as a nonfiction reference book covering a subject dear to Brett's heart. It's a perfect fit for him, and he's been spending most of his "spare time" working toward its completion.

The chitties
Our feline friends have become quite the mousers. Yesterday I found KitKat playing with a deceased rodent, and this morning, Brett and the kids very nearly stepped on another dead mouse, or should I say, two halves of a dead mouse. Nice.

The football season
The Texas-Baylor game was my NINTH Texas football game in a row to attend, dating back to the Big 12 championship game last December. I don't know how I'll manage to settle for watching the Horns on TV this Saturday, but I can't quite make it all the way to Lincoln, Nebraska! The Baylor game turned out OK, but good grief, that first quarter was miserable! The Bears have come a long way, and apparently, the Horns still have a long way to go.

But tailgating? We've got that down! Who needs hot dogs and burgers when you can have ginormous ribeyes before the game?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

While Mom's away...

...the kids will play!

For the second straight year, Brett, some of his buddies, our kids and some neighborhood friends have put together a haunted house. I'm not too crazy about haunted houses, especially when they wind their way around my side yard and into the back, drawing dozens of neighborhood families. It's no coincidence that Brett schedules the haunted house for one of my football weekends!

While I was in Austin watching Texas beat Baylor, the haunted house crew schemed, assembled props, decorated the yard, advertised to the neighbors, and dressed themselves up to look like this:

They had a blast scaring their friends!

Monday, October 09, 2006

A promise kept.

On the last day of my fall break, I took the kids to Six Flags. I had promised this trip during the summer when we'd realized my break and the kids' would coincide. What I couldn't have known was that my mom would fracture her shoulder that weekend! In spite of those circumstances and a touch of exhaustion, my mom, Brett and I did not want to break that promise to the kids. So there we were!

We met a few characters...

and felt like we'd seen Pepe somewhere before:

We rode our favorite roller coasters, the Giant and the Titan, and then we cruised to the top of the Oil Derrick to see their amazing structures:

And from that vantage point we could see the Batman ride (in yellow--way back there behind the tall Superman and blue Mr. Freeze). The kids were tall enough to ride it--finally!

We worked up a sweat, so Splashwater Falls really cooled us off. Of course, Katie and Ryan just HAD to stand on the bridge after the ride, and THIS was the result:

The park was open from 10-6, so at 5:55 we ate our Pink Things and headed for the car. What a day!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Angels among us.

Who knew women's retreats could be so dangerous?

My mom tripped on her way to lunch during a church retreat yesterday, and when she tried to break her fall, she broke her shoulder instead. The retreat was almost over, so she tried to wait until the end to get help. Her "angels," the three women from her small group who had all carpooled to the retreat center, insisted that she head to the ER right away. Knowing her interest in the football game, they teased her that she was going to great lengths to get to a TV! (She was pleased to find a big one in the ER!)

So several hours later, the diagnosis was in: shoulder fracture. S, the driver, took the other women home before accompanying my mom to her apartment. I was still in Dallas for the game, and I didn't get word about the accident until 9:30 that night. When I got the call, I was on the way to retrieve my car from a friend's house in Mansfield. As soon as we made it to Mansfield, I hopped in the van to head home, where I quickly packed a bag so I could get to Memaw's. I didn't get there until around 11 p.m., but bless her heart, S was still there, making sure Mama was OK.

Because it was my mom's right shoulder and she's right-handed, ordinary tasks will take extraordinary strength or dexterity (or both!). Please pray that she'll recover quickly and that her pain will be minimal. She desperately wants to be able to take care of herself, so these next few weeks will be challenging.

And pray that God especially blesses the angels who took such good care of her!

Texas 28, OU 10

Hook 'em, Horns! The Longhorns gave us quite a show and a second straight win in the Red River Shootout/Rivalry/Whatever series. Our "lucky endzone" seats were the perfect place to sweat in the heat, squirm through the first half and celebrate TD's like this one in the third quarter. And our end of the Cotton Bowl was really rockin' by the time the clock hit 0:00!

Check out this link for more pix from the game and fair. Fletcher's corny dogs, Marilyn Monroe in butter, thousands of red- and orange-clad football fans: No place but Texas-OU!

What a birthday!

Friday was a big day for Katie and the rest of the Dubs. We began the day at Putt-Putt and wrapped it up at Chuck E. Cheese's. It wasn't the usual birthday routine, but because of the holiday from school, we all enjoyed the Day O' Fun.

We've had a bit of excitement in the family lately, so for now, you can see more pictures from Putt-Putt and Chuck E's here.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Happy birthday, Katie!

Dear Katie,

From the day you were born, we have known that our little sweetheart is full of passion and energy! When we brought you home from the hospital, your posture in the baby carrier told the whole story:

You were a strong baby who knew what you wanted. And that's not a bad thing! Some people use the label "strong-willed child" to mean brat, but you weren't even close to that. You just had an intensity for life that we'd never seen before. And oh, you melted our hearts.

You closely watched your big brother, and even though you're 14 months younger, you seemed so ready to do all the things he could already do: walk, talk, play with "big kid" toys. You have always been quick to learn new skills, whether it's on the computer or playing sports in the front yard, and your competitive nature pushed you to try new things ahead of your time.

You've always been so insightful, too. You seem to look at the world differently, seeing it from an unusual perspective. One time you told us that if we lived underground, the ground would be our sky. Hmmm...

You have the most amazing memory, and it's almost scary how quickly you can memorize song lyrics. As we're driving along, some newer song will come on the radio, one that I can barely recall ever hearing before. And there you are in the backseat, singing along!

You're also cool. As your Mom, I'm entitled to call you cute and precious and all those other girly words that accurately describe you, but your tomboy self would rather be cool. And you are! You have a way about you that exudes confidence and ease, and it shows in the way you carry yourself.

So today, you're turning 9. NINE! And you still have that fire that keeps you energized and passionate about the people and things you love. I pray that you'll always keep that fire burning, Sweetie.



Sunday, October 01, 2006

A Capitol idea.

Dub-Family Rule #1: If you're in Austin, you must visit the State Capitol.

For the Horns' big match-up with Sam Houston State, I was lucky enough to have two extra tickets. Since I happen to have two extra kids around here, I knew just who needed to go to this game. Wanting to make this a family getaway, I persuaded Brett to make the trip with us.

Headed for the Capitol, we ended up parking right in front of the Capitol Visitor Center. As many times as we've been to the Capitol, we'd never actually gone in the visitors center. It was a pleasant surprise!

We watched a film about the XIT Ranch, and we got a good view of the Goddess of Liberty atop the great dome.

From the visitor center, we walked across the grounds to the Capitol. We've always been big fans of the biggest trees, so we had to stop and pay our respects.

It was a gorgeous day to be in Austin!

While exploring the Capitol, Brett mentioned that there must be hidden passages within the building. With so many nooks and crannies, there were bound to be areas that only insiders would know about. That's what led Ryan to ask a Capitol guide if she knew of any hidden passageways. Her answer? No, but there are five underground tunnels that lead to the Capitol. Katie and I heard her correctly, but Brett and Ryan heard FIVE HUNDRED tunnels! Later, we laughed about that one, trying to picture the labyrinth of tunnels below us.

Eventually we made our way to the annex, where both kids made themselves part of the state seal (the reverse side).

We also meandered around long enough to discover the FIVE tunnels which lead from the annex to other state buildings in the Capitol complex.

So with that pilgrimage complete, we checked into our hotel. Around the time the kids and I headed to the game, Brett took off on his own circuit of Austin Half-Price Books stores.

The game itself wasn't exactly a barn-burner, but it was neat to see the SHSU Bearkat Band. We happen to be related to a former member of that band!

On Sunday we visited Zilker Park, another Austin favorite. This time we took a short hike down a trail along the Barton Creek Greenbelt.

We got an eyeful of flora and fauna.

We couldn't leave Zilker without returning to the kids' old stomping grounds, the playground.

Our weekend ended with an entertaining lunch with some old friends. It had been too long since we'd seen them, and it was the perfect way to wrap up our Austin getaway.