Sunday, November 30, 2008

Never can say goodbye.

So here we are at the end of another football season. It's always exciting when our season tickets arrive in the mail: all those games, all that promise. Then in a blink, we come down to the last ticket, the last chance to sit in Section 1 for a while. Whoosh! There goes another season!

The last home game is sad for us fans; I can't imagine the emotions for these seniors who come down that tunnel for the last time! I get verklempt just watching these guys hug Coach Brown during their pregame introductions.

Fortunately for the Horns, those emotions didn't keep them from beating the Aggies!

The Aggie Band

LHB's Wall-to-Wall Band

And I'm seven of those 686,324!

So proud of Mack Brown

I love the way the team gathers in front of the band for "The Eyes of Texas" at game's end.

The Tower lighting was shown on Godzillatron just as the Eyes was beginning. So very cool!

The seniors took a victory lap after the game. How we'll miss these guys!

Happiness is an orange Tower, but the wait for the next home game = sadness.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Turkey at the tailgate!

That's what we said months ago when we first found out the A&M game had been moved back to Thanksgiving Day. Sure enough, that's what we ate!

It was one giant potluck, and the food was delish! We had fried turkey, ham, two kinds of stuffing, mashed potatoes, broccoli-rice casserole, jalapeno corn casserole, cranberry sauce, salad, green beans, copper penny carrots...

We had a big crowd, so it's a good thing we had so much food!

TWELVE pies? Oh, yeah. TWELVE PIES... and cake and brownies.

What really made this tailgate the ultimate Longhorn experience was our special guest: Tommy Nobis!

He stopped by on his way to the game and was so nice to pose for a few pictures and sign some autographs for the kids.

It was wild to shake hands with a man whose name is so much a part of Longhorn lore. His name is even on our version of the Ring of Honor. What an honor to meet him—and how wonderful to find out he's such a nice guy!

Of course, this tailgate was bittersweet. It was so hard to be away from my family on Thanksgiving! It was also difficult to know that this would be our last tailgate until next fall. Whoa, Nelly, that's a long ways off! After three seasons of these tailgates, we've gotten to know the folks who sit near us so much better. We see each other almost every weekend for three months and then BAM! It's over. So yes, we enjoyed great food and fellowship, but we also took a little longer saying goodbye when it was time to take down the canopies.

Until next year...

Friday, November 28, 2008


Angi tagged me, so I'm listing 25 things for which I'm thankful. What a great exercise! Once I got started, it was hard to limit the list to 25. So many blessings...

In no particular order (and with no regard for parallel structure):

1. The fact that my mom and Brett's parents and siblings live so close to us
2. Equity and good credit
3. Not just a house of our own but a storage unit, too!
4. A husband who loves me and our kids and who works so hard to take such good care of us
5. Two children who amaze me and teach me something new every day
6. My job
7. Vince Young, the Rose Bowl and my football buddy who got me that precious ticket
8. Kerbey Lane, Mother's, Chuy's, Mount Bonnell, the Arboretum cows and everything else that is great about Austin, Texas, baby
9. Longhorn football, tailgating and all our Section 1 friends
10. A family willing to tolerate my football obsession
11. My iPhone and MacBook, blogging, Facebook, email and digital photography
12. Print and online newspapers
13. The Brady Bunch
14. eBay (for helping me feed my Bradymania)
15. Sonic ice
16. Burnt orange purses, burnt orange backpacks, burnt orange everything
17. Central heat and air
18. ChaCha
19. MediaShout and the A/V booth
20. My church family
21. Friendships that endure across the miles and over the years
22. Lyle Lovett
23. Health insurance
24. Cook Children's and the incredible staff in the H/O clinic
25. Recombinant clotting factor

So, fellow bloggers: Consider yourself tagged!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Who won the A&M-Texas game?

Yes, those are turkey wings and legs, just part of our massive Thanksgiving feast at today's tailgate. And yes, this was the messiest T-E-X-A-S yet!

Texas 49, A&M 9.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Eve.

Brett had to work today, but the kids and I savored every minute of our first day of Thanksgiving break. One highlight: Bolt in 3D!

It's been a l-o-n-g time since I've seen a 3D feature film (since Spy Kids 3D, perhaps?), so I was blown away by the picture quality. Really astounding—and not headache-inducing! Am I the last one to notice this? Granted, we don't see as many Disney films as we did when the kids were early-elementary aged, but still... Wow!

And Bolt? Loved it! Incredible Journey redux with some crazy sci-fi scenes thrown in: What's not to like?

We especially enjoyed the character Mittens. She more than a little reminded us of our own sassy monochromatic feline:
ChaCha, by the way, is already looking forward to the Christmas season. She's already trying out her ChaCha Claus (or would that be Claws?) collar!

But we're getting ahead of ourselves. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Recovery report.

Now that we're nine days removed from Ryan's fall and 12 days from our real estate implosion, I figure a State of the Household address is due. Last week was not one of our best, but we're still kicking!

Ryan's healing up nicely, but the inside of his mouth is still somewhat torn up. Some foods are a little difficult for him to eat. But his biggest problem lately has been a cold that's giving him fits—coughing fits, specifically. Still, this week is much better than last, and now that we're on Thanksgiving break, he should have plenty of time to rest and recuperate.

We're still adjusting to the idea that our house is back on the market. We're still forgetting that our belongings are not here but down the street in a metal building. We're still frustrated when we can't find the church directory or the game system charger. And we're still bummed about the house that got away.

BUT! The previously closed door was opened a crack last night when we heard that our would-be buyers have new prospects for financing. We don't dare get our hopes up, but the idea that we could sign new contracts with them AND for the house we want... !!! ??? !!! I just don't know what to think anymore. I do know that even that glimmer of hope was enough to send me back to our pictures of that new house for the first time since we terminated the contracts. I allowed myself to think—ever so briefly—about where the couch would go, what color the walls would be. Dangerous territory, I know.

Our only constant lately has been uncertainty! I don't know if the move will be back on. I don't know if we should even bother getting out our 17 tubs of Christmas decorations. (I also don't know if I can bear to NOT unpack those treasures.) I don't know if the house we want will still be on the market this time next week. And I don't know if OU will pass Texas in the BCS standings after this week's games.

What do I know? I know that the four of us were able to snuggle on the couch tonight to watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. I know that Texas beat OU by 10 points on a neutral field. I know that all this house stuff is just a reminder of how blessed we are to have a house at all.

And I know, I know that my Redeemer lives.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Dubdance Film Festival: Day 1.

Ryan the Cowhunter
a film by Ryan Dub

My girl likes to party all the time.

Katie and I went straight from church to a baby shower to a birthday party this afternoon. I was worn out by 5 p.m., but the girl never tires!

At least this is the good kind of exhausted, the type that comes after a day of catching up with friends and celebrating special milestones.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Well, THAT wasn't fun...

Really? 65-21? REALLY?! I never saw THAT coming. Unfortunately for Tech, the Red Raiders didn't see a lot of things coming.

Today was a very bad day for Tech fans, but it was almost as bad for us Texas fans. For one, we all had to listen to that abomination of a fight song over and over and over tonight. On top of that:
  • Our unique opponents were 1-3 today (only Rice won; Arkansas, Florida Atlantic and UTEP all lost). That hurts our strength of schedule in the BCS. Meanwhile, OU's opponents were 3-2 (TCU, Cincinnati and KSU won). That helps them.
  • If OU beats #13 Oklahoma State next weekend, they will make up the difference in the computers and pass Texas in the BCS rankings. The Horns SHOULD beat the Aggies Thursday (PLEASE!!!), but since the Aggies are unranked, that win won't be as big since it's not against a "quality opponent."
  • So if Tech, Texas and OU all have one conference loss, the team with the higher BCS ranking will play in the Big 12 championship game. OU would play Mizzou for the conference title.
So here's what could help Texas:
  • Tech could lose to Baylor. Not holding my breath for that one.
  • OU could lose to OSU. Not as far-fetched, but still not likely. That still wouldn't get us in the Big 12 championship because Tech has the head-to-head with us if it's a two-team tie. It could get us in the BCS's #2 spot and into the national championship game, though.
  • OU could lose the conference title to Missouri. Again, not likely.
  • Florida State could upset Florida, and Florida could beat 'Bama. That could clear the top of the BCS list to make way for representatives from the (far superior) Big 12!
(A much better breakdown of one fan's BCS projections is on

All of this because of that debacle in Lubbock three weeks ago! I have to remind myself that going into this season, we never would've imagined we'd be contending for a national title. Still, it's quite possible that we'll end up with one loss (IN THE LAST SECOND ON THE ROAD AT THE END OF A GRUELING FOUR-GAME STRETCH) and play in the Cotton Bowl. Lame.

(Speaking of college football: What up, ACU? 93-68? WOWZERS!)

We may not have moved...

...but our stuff has! This was our storage unit after our October 13 workday:

And this is what it looked like last Saturday when we went to retrieve a few things:It has taken a few days, but we getting used to the idea that we'll be staying here for the foreseeable future and NOT moving into the house we wanted. We'll be OK, and this house is already back on the market. It's just that we're suffering from a wee bit of separation anxiety. It's awfully nice to have access to that one book or that certain DVD at a moment's notice, and it's swell to actually have a glass from which to drink (instead of plastic). And my cold-weather clothes? In THERE instead of HERE. So yes, it's taking some getting used to!

Then there's our bare house. It just seems so much colder. I chalk that up to our missing books; books always seem to warm a home, don't they? The kids' rooms are really empty (and yet still not clean? Go figure). Ryan jokes that kids hear all the time that if they're bad, their parents are going to take away all their toys. Well, it's happened—even though Ryan and Katie aren't even close to bad! Thanks to the library, the Wii, Dish Network and the internet, the kids have plenty of opportunities for entertainment.

Last week we retrieved a vanful to bring back home:Today's Easter egg hunt will be to find my family cookbook so we can have Thanksgiving next week. (It just wouldn't be Thanksgiving without our traditional broccoli-rice casserole!)

And speaking of Thanksgiving, we are so very thankful to have not just this house, but a house for our stuff, too! In spite of our latest disappointment—or maybe because of it—we're reminded that we are blessed beyond belief.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Rollin', rollin', rollin'...

Wednesday and Thursday nights were spent trying to get a box with CD wheels to roll 1.5 meters.

It took plenty of tests (including the failed catapult experiment), but his Newton car is now ready to roll!

Propelled by a punch bag balloon, it rolled! Yea for science!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My dream job.

For my next career, I'd really like to be the dancing barbecue sandwich on the Dickey's commercials:

I'm thinking dancing sandwiches don't have to deal with yearbook deadlines or mock TAKS tests.

Cheesy as it is, that commercial makes me laugh every time! Last night I started giggling about something, don't remember what, and Brett asked, "Are you thinking about that commercial again?" I wasn't, but once he said that, I laughed even harder. There's just something about that tambourine.

And speaking of BBQ commercials, here's another of my favorites:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"A Sketch of Jim (Partial)": Part 2

My grandmother's account of my father's health continues. At the end of Part 1, my dad's doctor had just informed the family that their baby might be a "bleeder." In this part, Granny describes an accident eerily similar to Ryan's accident two days ago but with far worse consequences. What a difference 65 years can make! I can't imagine a world without pediatric hematologists, blood banks and clotting factor.

Continued from Part 1

He began to overcome this, though, and was soon running around in the house, cast and all. Then all went well except for several bruises that were minor until he was about 18 months old. I had gone shopping and left him with my girls and a sister-in-law. When I returned, they ran out to tell me the baby (Jim) had fallen and hurt his mouth. When I examined him, I found he had knocked one of his front teeth loose. Still not understanding our problem, we treated him as any other mother would their child, but by the next morning, he would not play and was pale as could be, and then he started vomiting blood. I took him immediately to the doctor, and as soon as he saw him, he called my husband and told him to meet us at the hospital. We went there and they typed and crossmatched the blood of my husband, me, and our son. Fortunately the father and son were of the same type blood and were compatible.

Our doctor worked for what seemed like hours and had difficulty giving the blood as our baby was pale and weak but still had fight in him. Finally the doctor left and in a few minutes returned and finally completed the blood transfusion. Then our son went to sleep. Later the doctor returned and told us to keep him real quiet. Then he said, "I left a while ago and went in a little room and prayed that I would get the blood in him." Then he said there would be many more such episodes.

He was my son, I had brought him into the world, and with help of so many who were so interested in him, that surely I could be strong, too. He was a pretty and very sweet and lovable baby. My husband's family lived here in the same city, and of course were very attentive and helpful. Our neighbors all were interested and at the church we attended, everyone was thoughtful, helpful and offered assistance, even gave of their blood.

To be continued...

Edited to add the other "Sketch of Jim" entries:

Monday, November 17, 2008

Katie's contest.

Early last week, Katie handed out fliers advertising an exciting weekend event: a pencil sharpening contest! For a low entry fee (50 cents), you could try your hand at sharpening pencils to win fabulous prizes.

So during halftime of Saturday's Texas game, Katie played game show host and explained the contest rules. Each contestant would sharpen one pencil in each of three rounds, and at the end, she would judge the quality of the sharpened pencils and award prizes for first, second and third place.

It required great concentration! Once you started sharpening, you could not stop until you felt your pencil was perfect.

The three of us had our own ways of stepping up to the sharpener.

The stakes were high! We wanted that first prize!

This pencil looks pretty perfect to me, but then again, it's mine. Still, I was up against some pretty sharp competition.

Judge Katie had a difficult decision to make. In the end, the winner was...

Brett! He was overcome with emotion when he realized he had won.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

What we didn't know.

We knew we were heading to our small group meeting tonight. We didn't know we'd be going from there to the ER at Cook.

At 7:30 I picked up Ryan from his youth activity at the church building and headed back to our regular small group's meeting spot down the street. The kids played hide-and-seek while we watched the Cowboys in all their high-def glory. Then Katie interrupted.

"Ryan's bleeding."

We knew we should head downstairs immediately. We didn't know just how much blood I'd find in that bathroom sink once I got there.

It took a while to get the full account, but in their intense game, Ryan had jumped from a fence to a stone wall. He tripped off the wall and fell onto the ground below—a drop of about 4 feet.

By the time he and six kids made it back inside the house, it was obvious he needed medical attention. He had a cut above his lip and a scratch across his nose, his lip was cut and bloody, and a tooth was way loose. Add to that the fact that today was not a "factor day," and we knew we'd be checking with the hematologist on call. (He infuses clotting factor every other day, so his last dose had been yesterday morning. His factor level decreases over the 48 hours between infusions, so it was pretty low when he fell.) And his glasses? Toast!

We knew we're beyond blessed to live so close to Cook Children's. We didn't know that an ER trip could go so well.

The hematologist (who's not Ryan's regular specialist) felt we should get a CT just to be on the safe side. He had informed the ER that we were on our way, so Ryan was in the waiting room for less than 2 minutes. Of course, Ryan was a trooper as his vitals were taken and as people kept asking what had happened. He was so brave as they started his IV even though his face HURT, especially that loose tooth. And when it was time for the CT scan, he handled it calmly and with maturity (even as Mom and Dad stood there stylin' in our neon '80s splattered radiation shields).

The news was all good: CT looked normal, the nose cut was really just a scratch, and the cut above his lip could be closed with glue instead of stitches. That tooth was still a bother, and since Ryan was pumped full of factor, the ER doctor suggested we go ahead and pull it—which he did. Every step of the way, we were impressed with the staff's professionalism, courtesy and efficiency. Unbelievable.

We knew Ryan's a cool kid. We didn't know he could be so funny under pressure.

Ryan was obviously uncomfortable, but he handled the situation as well as anybody could've. As we walked to the treatment area, he noticed how much the scene resembled the set of Scrubs. A few times he had gauze in his mouth, so he communicated by "writing" on the bedsheet. He maintained composure as the doctor pulled his tooth, quickly reminding us that the tooth fairy pays $2 these days.

A couple of times Brett lightened the mood with silly comments, but Ryan had the line of the night. When Brett was singing his favorite movie song (in a ridiculous voice, of course), Ryan said, "Please! I'm in enough pain already!"

We knew we have awesome friends. We didn't know how blazingly fast they could be to respond to our needs.

Our friends the Ws quickly volunteered to keep Katie there at their house so Brett and I could both take Ryan to Cook. When we returned to pick Katie up, she was cozy as could be in borrowed PJs! It meant the world to us that we could both go with Ryan to the hospital and know Katie was in excellent hands.

I'd never really used Facebook as a prayer hotline, but that's what it became! Within seconds of posting a status update as we drove to the hospital, we heard from folks who were praying at that very minute. Awesome.

We thank God for protecting Ryan and for sending us the people who helped us get through this crazy night!

So here's Ryan after we got home:

And that tooth?