Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Questions, questions.

So whose great idea was it to paint both kids' bedrooms in consecutive weeks while Ryan and Katie were at camp?

Oh, yeah. Mine.

It sounded good, anyway. While they're gone, I can completely take over their spaces. And how nice to finally get fresh paint on those tired walls. Too bad I forgot to figure in the tired Mom.

And I am beat! Last week's de-arking nearly did me in. This week I'm facing fatigue plus a million other chores that must be accomplished before we can go on vacation. Oh, and Six Flags. Tomorrow I'll be chaperoning another Six Flags trip, which means I'll be in the park for the fourth time in three weeks.

When Katie comes home Friday afternoon and sees her new bedroom, it'll all be worth it, and when school starts in the fall, I'll be so glad that we can check two more rooms off the to-be-painted list.

Tonight, though, I'm tired, and I have to wonder how I ever imagined I could get so much done in so little time!

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Good night, sweet Prince.

This morning we got the sad news that Prince, Brett's parents' dog, had died overnight.

Prince was a wonderful companion for Nana and Papa. He was a sweet dog who could be content in his pen, but he loved getting the chance to socialize in the yard with his peoples or with his canine cousins, Frisco and Coal.

Brett really looked forward to spending time with Prince on our visits to Nana and Papa's. If we were there in the daylight, he'd often let Prince out into the yard and brush his thick coat.

Prince was docile enough to be my model last year when, to poke fun of the Aggies, he impersonated Reveille, the A&M mascot:

We are so sad for Nana and Papa, and we will miss our old friend. He was such a sweetheart, and our hearts hurt because he's no longer with us.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Katie's turn.

Another week, another camp. This time it's Katie's turn to spend five days in Oklahoma City for church camp.
She was so excited to be going to the middle school camp this year!

After roll call and a prayer, it was time for goodbyes.

Aw... They CAN hug!

On the people mover, Katie wasn't too thrilled to see me with the camera.

I'm so thankful that our youth minister's wife has been posting photos on Facebook for us lonesome parents:

We pray that she's learning much and having fun with her friends, but we can't wait until we get our girl back on Friday afternoon!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Fun Friday, Parts 2-3.

When we returned to the church building after Six Flags, our campers had just arrived. Since I knew I couldn't get there until 4, Brett had gone up at 3:30 to pick up Ryan. I was afraid I'd missed them, but Ryan waited for our Six Flags group to arrive. I was thrilled to not have to wait a minute more to hug and kiss my boy!
When we got home, he got to see his de-arked bedroom and his welcome-home present, a Star Wars Trouble game. Trouble is our unofficial family game. We play it A LOT. Ryan was excited to see this variation of the game.

Then it was time for welcome-home cake! This is another tradition we started the first time Ryan came home from camp.

After our sweet appetizer, we grabbed fast food for supper and then went to Nana and Papa's to help Nana celebrate her birthday.
While we were there, Kelly, Chris, Cara and Jeff came over. Since Cara and Jeff's first wedding anniversary is Sunday, we watched the video of their special day.
It brought back a lot of great memories of their ceremony and reception, and it was a nice way to wrap up a fun Friday!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Fun Friday.

What a fun but crazy day Friday was! It began with a trip to Six Flags with our church youth group and ended with another family get-together, this time to celebrate Nana's birthday. In between, Ryan came home from camp!

Here's the Six Flags part of our day.

Three of us had just gotten off Tony Hawk's Big Spin when it was closed because lightning was nearby. Then the rain came! It didn't last too long, but it did get us nice and wet. We rejoined the big group and headed towards the Flashback. Several of our teens were next in line when THAT ride was closed, too. Uh oh.

From there we walked to the center of the park and took a lunch break. By the time we had eaten, the weather had cleared and rides were running again.

After a quick drive, it was finally...
TITAN TIME! The lines were fairly short (after a brief "technical difficulty" that shut down the ride for about 10 minutes), so we rode it twice.

The more hardy members of our entourage took a spin on Aquaman.

Then they waited on the bridge for the big splash.

And yes, it was a BIG splash!

They were soaked!

Our fearless head chaperone was brave enough to ride the Acme Rocket. (Yes, I have ridden it. No, I will not ride it again!)

As we watched the rocket go upside down, we couldn't help but think how Phil really flips for our student ministry!

The rain and ride closures slowed us down a bit, but everyone had a great time just being together.

And our busy Friday was just beginning...

Friday, June 25, 2010

Call me crazy.

I've been ready to upgrade my iPhone for a while now, but just when I was ready to get the 3GS, Apple had to announce the iPhone 4. I bided my time, and when the new phones were available for pre-order, I reserved that puppy. The catch? I had until the end of business on June 24 to pick up the phone or I'd lose my reservation. Ordinarily I'd be more than willing to wait until the crazy rush died down, but vacation is right around the corner, and I really wanted the new phone (better camera! video! multitasking! reorienting maps!) for our travels. Besides, June 24 just happened to be the rare summer day without any obligations until dinnertime.

So that's how I found myself in the middle of this:Yep. At 7 a.m. I joined about 1,800 people in line at our local Apple Store to pick up an iPhone 4.

Soon after I arrived, store employees began distributing water bottles. Around 8:30 they were back, this time with chicken biscuits from Chick-fil-A. A manager made periodic visits to keep us updated. For instance, he told us that it normally took 5-7 minutes to complete the transaction, but with so many people buying phones, the wait could go up to 20 minutes. PER TRANSACTION. TIMES 1,800 PEOPLE. Around 9 a.m. the line stopped moving, but close to 9:30, the manager was back again to say that delay was caused by the West Coast's 7 a.m. opening. All of those California stores firing up their iPhones really slowed down the system. By the time the guy gave us that update, we were back to a 7-8 minute transaction time.

Along one nasty, unshaded stretch of the line, we had misters along the rail. Those helped, but it was still pretty warm by that time (10 a.m.). It would've been nice to have had some cloud cover, but we kept saying how glad we were that it wasn't raining. Heh.

Around 11:30 we rounded the corner so we could finally see the storefront. By that point, I was on my fourth bottle of water and was wondering why I hadn't thought to find some astronaut underwear for my wait. At least we had the big umbrellas. The store provided those, too. As people entered the store, they'd pass back the relief-giving umbrellas.

I finally got into the store a little after noon. These Apple folks certainly know how to deal with the masses. They kept us hydrated and fed, and as soon as we entered the store itself, gave us Jamba Juice. I had a hunch that right before they had to wait on us, they wanted to create a more docile, grateful crowd—instead of the angry, bitter, drowning-in-our-own-sweat mob that had been waiting in the Texas heat for 5 1/2 hours.

(By the way, soon after I took this photo, my line buddy directed my attention to the street just outside. It was POURING RAIN.)

To make a rambling story even more ramblingy, by the time we entered the air-conditioned store, time FLEW. Even though it still took about another half-hour of waiting inside, I had my A/C, my Jamba Juice, and more than a couple of gadgets in the store to play with.

By the way, not everyone waiting had pre-ordered a phone. There was a line similar to ours snaking its way around the opposite side of the building. One of those walk-in customers was allowed to enter the store for every five or six of us with reservations. That means their wait was at least five times longer than ours! One couple we saw inside had been waiting for 24 hours to get their phones without pre-ordering them. I was really thankful to be in the much faster moving reserved line.

After 5 1/2 hours in line, a 10-minute purchase/activation transaction and a quick trip to the restroom, I emerged from the store with this:

It IS a thing of beauty! (The actual phone, not just my home screen. Too sleepy to actually take a photo of the new phone itself.)

Would I have waited if not for vacation? No. Am I glad I have my phone now? ABSOLUTELY.

Some folks have reported reception issues (hasn't bitten me yet), but I LOVE this phone! The screen is ridiculously clear, and the few photos I've taken with it are far superior to the ones my old 3G could take (like the first two images in this post).

So far this summer, I have done two things I swore I was too old to do: go to a midnight movie premiere (WORTH IT!) and wait in a ridiculous line for some gadget. Even though there are easier ways to have bought the new phone, I'm thankful for the many people I got to visit with and observe—and for the Jamba Juice.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Six months.

Six months ago today, we lost our friend Tim. After dinner tonight, we walked out the restaurant's front door to see a full rainbow.

How beautiful to see that rainbow at this particular intersection.

How nice to know that God keeps his promises.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Good sports.

What a great day for sports!

I'm no soccer fan, but today's game winner was off-the-charts exciting—for a sport that's not Texas football, anyway. Plenty of things about the World Cup have annoyed me to no end (ties, bad officiating, those awful vuvuzelas, the ridiculous number of "injuries" that seem more like flops), but that U.S. goal was a thing of beauty. I yelled. A lot. Then I got on Twitter to see this:

USA! USA! USA! Everybody was all aTwitter about the big win—except the NBA.

Then there was TCU's come-from-behind win to stay alive in the College World Series. When I checked the score at church, TCU was trailing 7-2. By the time I got home and turned on the TV, the Frogs had closed the gap to 7-4. Then came the two-out, grand slam homerun. A two-run HR followed. Frogs win, 11-7. So exciting! It still makes me sick that my Horns aren't in the CWS, but I truly hope TCU can win it all—even if the Frogs are the reason UT's season ended in Austin.

Sidenote: I can barely type the word FROGS. I keep typing FRONGS. Anyway...

I didn't watch a single serve or volley of it, but today's marathon match at Wimbledon is a great story, too. Ten hours? 59-59 tie? Crazy!

Who would've thought I'd get so wrapped up in sports here in the off-season doldrums, still 72 days away from kickoff!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


This is Ryan's bedroom with the decor we inherited from the previous owners. Since we moved into this house last September, we have not had time to make the room more teenager and less toddler.

Until now!

I've had this week on my calendar for months. With Ryan at camp, it's the perfect time to de-ark and repaint his room!

The plaid wallpaper came down like a dream. Step A: Peel off top layer. Step B: Soak paper backing with WP Chomp and wait a few minutes. Step C: Remove the backing. Easy!But Noah's Ark? Um, NO. Those cutesy bunnies, dolphins and elephants weren't going anywhere without a fight.

Well, that's not completely accurate. The border came right off two of the walls. Obviously, those two stretches of arks were put up correctly. The other parts of the border, however, had been attached to the wall using some kind of miracle adhesive. Why? Oh, how I'd like to know. WHY?!

After much scraping and the use of three different products, we ended up with this trail of tears. Since this part of the wall will be behind Ryan's bed and partially covered with posters (and since Ryan will be home Friday!), we decided to just paint over it.

And the result isn't as bad as I was afraid it might be! Of course, I'LL know the difference (and you will, too!), but from most angles, the Evil Mark of the Ark is hard to see.

So bye-bye, bunnies! After all that scraping, I'm pretty sure I won't be getting them out of my mind for at least 40 days and 40 nights.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A celebration of fathers.

After sending Ryan off to church camp, we paid a visit to Brett's dad to wish him a happy Father's Day. We love our Papa, so it was good to be able to spend a few hours with him.

It was also a treat to hang out with Brett's cousin Rick and Rick's son, Ben. Ben's baseball team had a tournament nearby over the weekend, so we got to visit with them in between games.

Father's Day got me to thinking about how much our fathers help shape us as children, so I dipped into the ol' archives for some pictures of us with our dads.

Brett and I both love this photo. He loves it because of the KISS T-shirt he's wearing and that his dad has on his Bell Helicopter work shirt. (Brett gets his incredible work ethic from his dad.) I love it because Nana still makes birthday cakes for us and takes our pictures sitting pretty much in that same spot!

These are my parents at Christmas 1967. That panda under the tree was my first Christmas present, but it would be another month before I'd be able to receive it!

Another photo I adore: Daddy with me at an airshow when I was 1 or 2. He shed his jacket, but he's still wearing his tie!

My dad loved to sing, and for a few years, he sang with a barbershop chorus and quartet. Barbershop music will always remind me of him. Certain church songs also make me think of Daddy ("It Is Well With My Soul," "The New Song," etc.). It's almost painful to hear them because I can remember him leading them so well.

Here we are in front of our fireplace during Granny and Papa's 50th wedding anniversary reception. I love that you can see the owl I made in school, the porcelain doll Daddy bought Mama in Gatlinburg, and the Mickey Mouse we bought at Disneyland in '78. And that fan. That fan was above our mantel for YEARS.

I miss Daddy terribly, but I'm so thankful for the 26 years I got to spend with him!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Parting is such sweet sorrow.

Father's Day pix are on their way tomorrow, but first:

After church today we joined the throngs gathered outside the Café to say goodbye to our Camper of the Week.
Next Sunday Katie will be the one on her way to church camp, but this week it's Ryan's turn. He's in great company; we have a bunch of our high schoolers making the trip.

Within minutes of the group's departure, I wondered why I thought it was such a good idea for him to go. Of course, we know he's learning and growing closer to his Father while also building relationships with his brothers and sisters.

But we miss our boy!

Plus, while he's gone, I must switch into DIY mode. I absolutely HAVE to attack his bedroom's Noah's Ark wallpaper border that I've been promising to remove since we moved in. Yes, in September. (I KNOW!) There's much to be done before he returns on Friday.

Of course, that doesn't keep me from hoping the time flies until our fearless foursome is reunited!