Mostly just picture posts for the unforeseeable future. Blah but it'll have to do. Sorry, Texas.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Seems like it was just a couple of months ago that Cole got his orange belt. Oh wait, maybe that's because it was. Look back in the September posts for "Orange Belt" and you'll find my detailed and borderline bitter comments about how easy it is to advance in this karate organization. Or you can just click here.
Cole even asks why he doesn't have to take a test to graduate to the next belt. How do you explain to your child that works really hard on something that it's actually all about the money? See, you just sit there and then a black belt kid comes by and puts your new belt in front of you. Not without paying for it first though. That little colored, cardboard strip of material costs $50. Notice how Cole has 3 stripes? He's really good, but his stand out skills don't matter because everyone advances no matter what.
YES, SIRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I think we've pretty much decided that Cole will take a break from karate after he gets his next belt. Our 6 month contract will be up by then, and there will be no point in continuing if we don't want to pay triple the money for the required classes after that time. Cole wants a black belt but he also wants to play football, basketball, and baseball. I just can't see how spending tons of money and 7 hours or so a week is necessary for a 7 year old. And I sure can't justify traveling 6-12 hours to go to the required tournaments just to achieve a black belt. Tournaments where every paying kid gets a trophy and scores almost the same amount of points. Okay, I need to stop because I'm starting to get heated over the situation again.

On a brighter note, and the actual point of the post...We are SOOO very proud of Cole for working hard to get his yellow belt. He picks up every move so quickly and knows the names long before most of the kids. The instructors often have him lead the class on the forms and demonstrations. He absorbs it all like a sponge and performs like a champ under pressure.

Even though the instructor is on the side, Cole looks straight ahead and actually stays focused on what he supposed to be doing. As he gets older, I hope that he is always confident in his abilities, what ever they may be, and uses his strengths for greatness. And hopefully he will learn to be humble along the way as well.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


This holiday season seems to have come faster than ever. I really can't believe it. I just love all the decorations of Christmas. It makes me so happy to see the tree lit up and full of ornaments. If I could, I would have our house overflowing with stuff. I saw a lady's blog that had 10 trees in her house. Wow! All different sizes and different themes. Now that puts way too many ideas in my head...Definite decorating overload!

I think it would be so pretty to have lots of trees. Then again, I'm so particular about what ornament goes where, that I would probably drive myself crazy trying to decorate multiple trees. And the never ending trips to Hobby Lobby would drive my family crazy. I always think that I'll be in there for just a few minutes but somehow it rarely ever turns out that way. Good thing Hobby Lobby is all we have here or else I'd seriously be in trouble. This time of year I really miss the Michaels and JoAnn stores. Those two are smaller and easier to not get sucked into for an hour.

Here is some of my Christmas decor around the house. There's not much room for stuff in this blah house this year, but I tried to make do. Hopefully, next year will be better. :)Here is my tree. Yes, I said MY tree. I'm so picky about it that I tend to get a little protective of it. If the kids try to help put stuff on, I either suggest/tell them where to put it or I quickly move it when they're not looking. I know that sounds harsh, but something about looking at the tree fills my heart with joy, and I just want it to look a certain way. Besides, the kids have their own little tree to decorate (they don't notice when I move stuff on there either).
I promise, the tree looks much better in person.
I love to sit by the glow of the lights at night and wrap presents.

I want to put those big outdoor lights on the tree next year. I think the bigger bulbs would look really bright and pretty. I don't know if that is a fire hazard though. It can't be much worse than the more than recommended amount of lights that are already on there.

Now, if I could only get some Christmas cards done. I was bad last year and didn't send out any. I'm working on them. I am, I really am y'all!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Does this video bring back memories or what? Anyone? Okay, maybe only for me, Nathan's parents, and my parents. We all spent countless hours together watching Nathan play basketball, and this brought back so many memories from high school...Great memories!

I enjoyed growing up watching my 2 older brothers playing baseball and basketball, so it was pretty much inevitable that I would end up with someone athletic. I always had 2 main requirements of a guy before I would even consider "liking" him: he must play sports and he must be taller than me.

I love sports more than most girls and even many guys. I think I just tried to absorb as much knowledge as I could about sports as a kid so I would fit in with my dad and brothers. I'm not sure how well that worked out with them, but I know it was a definite bonus for Nathan. I like watching ESPN just as much as any drama, decorating or dance show. I'm guess I'm just cool like that. :)


Sorry for the fuzzy camera phone pictures. I didn't want to have the flash going constantly since we were already getting enough stares by just being there.

Nathan is playing on his company's team. One of the guys had shirts made with their names on the back. This was Nathan's number all through high school. I didn't take a photo of the front of the shirts where the company name is huge and spelled WRONG!The kids thought it was fun to watch Daddy play basketball. Brooke brought her usual bag of stuff for entertainment.

After a while, we asked one employee's little girl if she wanted to come over and color. Brooke was happy with that but shortly after some other strange girls were in our faces to join in. That made her uncomfortable because she was being attacked for paper and crayons. These girls came out of nowhere and were waiting to watch the next game. The parents were far away and didn't even care. What the heck?!Cole made it about half way through the game before he was really annoying me to play. No, son, we are here to watch. I ended up wadding up a piece of paper like a ball for him to throw around. He was thrilled and went to the side of the bleachers to play. Of course, a little boy quickly joins him. No big deal except that he was about 3 yrs old and could not be seen from where his family was yapping amongst a cluster of people. I just don't understand some parents. I spent the rest of the game bobbing my head back forth between all these kids instead of focusing on Nathan playing. Nathan's not as quick on his feet as he use to be, but he still has that beautiful shooting form and is as cute as ever out there. And he still knows how to swish those threes.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


When I picked up the kids from school the Tuesday before Thanksgiving they were immediately chattering with excitement over their 5 days off from school. Then, Cole mentioned in a sad little tone that no one would be coming over to our house for Thanksgiving. Little did he know that Jamison and Carrington would be coming over. We've had it planned for weeks, but I waited on telling the kids in case something changed at the last minute. Cole and Brooke were ecstatic when I told them. It was so strange to not have to prepare my simple designated items at the last minute and then feel rushed to split our time between Nathan's family and mine. The cousins playing together is always the best part of any family get together. It's heartbreaking when Brooke says she misses her cousins or asks if they miss her. She still doesn't understand just how far away we live.

I was surprised but very grateful when Rachel asked if we wanted to get together for Thanksgiving. I thought it was a great idea because I knew it would distract us from missing everyone back home. Thanks for thinking of us, Rachel!

Justin, Rachel, Jamison, Carrington & Baby Audi

We ended up at our house because I found out that Old Navy was open that day, and it is maybe 8 minutes from our house but nearly 40 minutes away from theirs. They had some awesome deals on jeans for the kids, so Rachel and I sure did run up there before dinner and buy some stuff.

Now for the big dinner...

And ta-da! Here is our turkey. This would've made more sense if it was ground turkey, but it's not. It's just plain old ground beef with some taco seasoning mixed in. That's right, we had tacos for our Thanksgiving dinner. It was soooo much easier, cheaper, faster, and yet still very tasty. No big fuss, no big mess. And we sure ate far less calories since we didn't have the normal face stuffing temptations all day long during lunch and dinner.

I made cupcakes and let the kids decorate them all by themselves. Okay, I decorated some, too. I just couldn't resist.
Football is always a given on Thanksgiving Day. It wouldn't be the same without the Dallas Cowboys and the Texas Longhorns. Granted, we watch them no matter what day they come on, but you know what I mean. Awesome that both teams won!

All in all, I think it turned out to be a pretty good first Thanksgiving far away from family.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Brooke's second time to visit the horses was another suprisingly beautiful day for November. She wanted to take apples to share with them. Evidently, the horses don't normally get apples so they didn't really care for them. I'm sure grass and hay is plenty to feed 9 horses on a regular basis.

Karley had Brooke go into the tack room to see if she remembered where to get some of the horse's gear. She just loved going in there. Brooke is learning how to tighten the saddle belts...I think. I think she may be slipping. Nah, surely not. The other horses are always hiding way back in the woods.
I walked around and did my normal photo session for about 30 minutes, and then decided to sit in the back of the car and watch. I wrote in my planner, looked at the camera photos, and then just barely started playing on Cole's Nintendo DS when...

I heard a "Wo!" It wasn't a scary sounding scream but maybe more of a mildly startled shout. A very loud motorcycle happen to be driving by at the same time, so I didn't really think much about it. Until I looked up and saw Brooke sitting on the ground next to the horse and Karley leaning over her. She didn't just fall off did she? Brooke got up and they started walking back to me. At that point I was pretty sure that she did fall off. Brooke wasn't hysterical or anything so I knew it wasn't that bad. Karley said the motorcycle startled the horse and he jumped sideways. The "Wo!" that I heard was actually Karley when Rambo bumped into her because she never lets go of the rope by his face.

I don't know which way Brooke fell off or how it looked. On one hand, I wish I did just so I could know exactly what happened. But, on the other hand, as Nathan pointed out to me, if I had seen her fall I probably would've freaked out and made the situation much worse. Good point. It would've been extremely traumatizing to both of the girls to see my out of shape, jiggly body trying to sprint over to them. Yikes!

Brooke was holding her wrist and trying her best to hold the tears back by the time she got to me. Her wrist had a couple of scratches where she must have braced her fall. She cried for just a minute and then asked if her jeans were dirty on her butt. They were, but I assured her that it would come out in the wash.

I told her that Rambo was really sorry that he got scared, and he didn't mean to hurt her. She was telling Rambo that it was okay and she wasn't mad at him.
Karley mentioned she would show Brooke how Rambo runs before we left.After watching Karley on Rambo for a few minutes, she decided she wanted to ride again. I had her sit with Karley just to be on the safe side.

If Brooke wants to be a horserider when she gets bigger like she tells us all the time, she will probably be falling a lot more. I was very proud of her for not letting this scare her away from riding. Karley felt really bad, so it was also good that Brooke got back on for her sake, too.

A little fall couldn't keep Brooke away.
Her love for horses is much too great.


So, Nathan just turned 30. Ouch! I can't talk, I only have until January to continue putting a 2 in front of my age. It's just another day. This year I think Nathan actually had a great day and lots of fun on his birthday. He ended up going to Texas for work for a few days before his birthday to conduct a training. He had to drive all the way there, but it allowed him to have the freedom to hang out with friends any time after work. He got to enjoy being treated to all kinds of great restaurants that we don't have here.

One of his former softball buddies happen to be holding his 3rd annual charity golf tournament on Nathan's birthday and covered the entry fee for Nathan to be on his team. The tournament is held in memory of Brett's dad that died in a random car accident a few years ago. All the proceeds benefit the Make A Wish Foundation. This year's recipient was a 16 year old boy suffering from bone cancer that has affected the long bones of his body for the last few years. I don't know what the medical name for it is. His wish was to go to Australia with his family and snorkel along the Great Barrier Reef.

Scott and Bill - more softball buddies.
There were 140 participants. With the team entry fees and all the tickets sold for the raffle items, they raised about $19,000. Nathan's team won first place in the tournament and he won longest drive on one of the holes. His raffle tickets also got him all kinds of loot including the fabulous tan murse at the end of the table. Murse: that would be a man purse. :)
It was even catered by Outback. I didn't like that he was out of town for his birthday, but I sure didn't feel bad for long when I heard that since the kids and I ate some nasty hot dogs.Nathan drove all day Sunday and finally made it home about 4:30 pm. Cole and Brooke had birthday paintings and drawings all ready and waiting for him.
The birthday celebration wouldn't be complete without 30 birthday spankings.
During October 11th to November 15th Nathan was out of town for 19 days. That stunk big time. It's all part of the job I guess. He's home for at least a good month now, and we're so happy about that. We love him so much!