Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Iowa things

I took a few random pictures of things while I was in Iowa City:
These are sock-monkeys made by volunteers at the University of Iowa neo-natal intensive care unit. Each monkey goes to a baby & the hat is for the baby to wear. Cute! Look at all of them! This is a beautiful red tree peeking through the neighborhood trees in my Mom & Dad's back yard. Trees were mostly dark yellow or reddish, or naked because they already shed their leaves. Isn't this pretty! We miss the vibrant fall colors.

The U of I Hospital is located directly across the street from Kinnick Stadium where the Hawkeye Football team played AND WON last Saturday. This is the 'jumbo-tron' from the parking ramp roof.
I especially took this picture for all the Texans who think the word 'pop' is the goofiest thing you ever heard. See... This is a recycle bin for POP CANS at the hospital. Not SODA cans or COLA cans...

Update on Mom

I am home from Iowa after a miracle of medicine. My Mom was told a month ago that she has a carcinoid tumor, about the size of a tennis ball, that needed to be removed from her abdomen; near the pancreas & stomach.

After about 12 hours of surgery last Friday the doctor felt that he had completely removed the tumor! YAY! A "Whipple Procedure" was done which removed 1/2 the pancreas, 1/3 of the stomach, and a portion of the small intestine... and that nasty tumor. The doctor (Dr. Howe) who worked on Mom studies this type of tumor & worked especially hard to remove all remnants of this tumor. We're looking forward to the pathology report to see what kind of follow-up treatment he recommends.

Recovery has been tough on Mom. An epidural in her spine has controlled much of her pain, so she hasn't been experiencing much discomfort. However she had 2 days of straight nausea & light-headedness with anxiety & sleeplessness... pure misery! They finally figured out that the epidural was administering too much pain meds! Once this was adjusted on Monday she did a sharp turn toward the better & she's been up walking and eating liquid foods. WOW! How awesome! Today she'll get the epidural & urine catheter removed & we're looking for her to go home early next week, if not sooner.

See what I mean about a miracle of medicine? Now how about the miracle of prayer?

Thanks to EVERYONE who has prayed for this procedure, Mom's recovery & my blessed trip home to be with her. Each day will bring new challenges and soon we'll discover what sort of follow-up treatment the doctor has for Mom. Prayerfully nothing too awful, but exactly what she needs to make any remaining cells non-existent.

Love you Mom!! I'm so glad I got to be with you for that short while.... I wish it was longer. :(

My nephews

This is my newest nephew! His name is Max. He is sooooo precious. I am very thankful to finally meet him face-to-face. Love you Max! He is 2 months old now. These are Max's brothers, Will & Sam. They are fabulous big brothers and I had Texas-sized hugs for each of them!
Here's the whole family: Jill, my sister-in-law & Damon, my brother, play Mommy & Daddy to each of these cute little, er, I mean Handsome Big Boys and Baby Max. Or as Will likes to say, "Max-ee-well". It was GREAT to see all of you, even though my visit wasn't very long!
Look at Max's feet! What a doll!

pre-op pics

Here are a couple of pictures of me & my mom last Thursday, the night before she went into surgery. We enjoyed the evening together & got caught up on the last 3 months.This is a nice picture of my parents & me. I hope Dad finds a way to print this to put on Mom's wall at the hospital. Call me if you need help, Dad!

Bus update

I think we're on a roll.... two days in a row the bus arrived at 7:53.
Unfortunately they told Madison the bus would pick her up 7:35, so she waits outside for 15 minutes "just-in-case".
It's been in the 50's in the mornings, but 70's by afternoon so Madison wore a fur-lined jacket with her shorts today. I wish I'd have taken a picture. Maybe tomorrow if this pattern keeps up.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Nice morning surprise!

This is what we saw on the way to school this morning; A hot air balloon landed right at the entrance to our subdivision! Cool! We didn't have time to watch the whole landing, so we waved & went on our way.

Jared takes after his mom

Jared burned tonight's pizza. Takes after his mom. Learned from the best, right Scott?

Officer Dillon

Dillon is going to a Halloween party tomorrow night, here he is dressed as "Officer Dillon". He's going to invest in some play pistols tomorrow.... Convincing, isn't he?

Madison's volleyball pic

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tour of the new house!

This is a lengthy tour, but enjoy the new house! We certainly are!

Second Floor:

Even Macey thinks it a chilly morning

It was only 50 degrees this morning! Whew! Cold Front!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Bus troubles

Because we're a new neighborhood we've had an issue getting a school bus out here to get Madison picked up for school. I called last Tuesday & they said the bus would pick her up the next morning at 7:35.
The bus finally showed at 7:50.
Thursday the bus showed at 7:40.
Friday it was here at 7:35. Yay!
Monday it came at 8:10. I called to complain.
Today is was here at 7:35. Another kid in the neighborhood also got on at her stop. BUT....

The issue is that this bus has not budgeted for the extra time it takes to pick-up Madison & this other boy... so the bus is late to school each day, including the days it's here at 7:35. All the kids have to go to the office for excused tardy slips. Today Madison came home upset because the kids on the bus complained that she is causing them all to be late to school. Like it's her fault?! I called again to complain, this time I spoke to the Transportation Director and I called her school counselor. I hope things get better for her. Dang bus!

Much better

On Sunday I started a pot of coffee at 9am. I made 4 cups of coffee for Scott & I to enjoy before we left for church at 10am. When it was time to go the coffee pot JUST finished making the measly 4 cups. AN HOUR for 4 cups of coffee?!Yesterday I cleaned the coffee pot with white vinegar & water. This is something Scott's mom, Sandy, taught me how to do. I ran the vinegar through a few times which made the kitchen stink really bad. BUT today it only took 15 minutes for 4 cups! Yay! Thanks for the tip Sandy!

A very windy day

Yesterday we had 40mph gusts of wind. It was enough wind to blow our new little tree over! This picture is looking out the front of our house. The tree took down the stake too! Poor tree! As you can see from this picture, we are the only house on the block & the poor tree didn't have any protection from the strong winds. We have plenty of trees in the rear of the house, but this wind came from the side.
The builder came & re-staked the tree yesterday afternoon. The landscaper was supposed to come today & inspect the roots, but we didn't see anyone. Hopefully the Tree Doctor will come tomorrow & make sure the tree survives. The builder says he'll get us another one if this one doesn't make it.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

I give up

If any of you have noticed... Jared has not been wering his glasses in the past few posts. This isn't because he doesn't need to, he's still half blind (figuratively); he simply 'misplaced' his glasses at school. First he told me they were stolen... like someone desperately needed a pair of prescription glasses... ??? Then he told me that he left them ON THE FLOOR near his backpack when he was in gym, and upon returning he conveniently forgot about them & only retrieved his bag. At the end of the day when he retraced his steps... THEY WERE STOLEN!!? Hmmm.....

Also, last Tuesday I was putting clothes away in the upstairs when I kept stepping on something hard, but I couldn't see anything on the sandy white carpet. After stepping on the 'transparent' item 2 or 3 times I decided to investigate. There lay Madison's bottom retainer... one side chewed half-away by the dog. Now... don't go feeling sorry for Madison.... It is inumerable how many times I have told her to put the retainer somewhere the dog cannot reach. In-one-ear-and-out-the-other is exactly where that advice went. $150 lesson to be learned there. But by who...? Me? Madison? Macey? Who's got the $150? Oh. That would be me.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I KNEW IT!! (thanks jill)

Happy 4th Birthday to SAM!!
I had a tugging in my heart that today was very special... and now I know why! He is my precious nephew who I love very, very, very, very (4 times) much!!

Someone's birthday?

Do you ever get the urgent feeling that today is an important day? Like it's someone close to you's birthday? Or anniversary? Or a milestone of some sort? I feel like that today. If you remember what it is, let me know.

Bad news for pictures

I should have known something bad was going to happen with the camera.... or posting blogs with pictures from the camera.
When I got up this morning it was way foggy outside. As I walked through the upstairs, I noticed a huge hand-print on the outside of the upstairs window, obviously a remnant of the builders when they installed the window many months ago. I decided to get a picture of it. It does look kindof weird to have a handprint on a 2nd story window. And a big hand-print to boot!
No camera. Someone took it from the spot it's stored in. I don't think it was me. I'm pretty sure it wasn't. I'm a stickler for 'put-it-back-where-it-belongs' so I most likely put it away.

I decided to get on-line just now & the computer was giving me a warning that one of my USB Hub ports had malfunctioned. What?! When I looked on the ground under the computer desk I see that Macey has chewed the camera cord in HALF. So if I did have the camera, I wouldn't be able to post any pictures.

I hate that dog. At least today I do.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Stony Point tailgating

When the camera's batteries ran out, the date automatically reset itself... to the wrong date! No wonder I've never seen these pics until today. I found these in the camera from a Stony Point home game a few Fridays ago. Jared's new friends look rather large... because they are! These are some of his teammates from the Rugby team. They tailgated by grilling hamburgers in the parking lot & then adding 'spirit paint' for the game. In the above picture: Jared must've thought everyone wanted to see his diaper, I mean underwear... or maybe it's the black belt that Dillon stole from him that makes his pants fall down like that...?

My mom & next week

I am getting ready to make a trip to Iowa next week. The kids are insanely jealous until I remind them that this isn't a 'vacation' to visit my friends or spend some time enjoying the cool weather... I am going to Iowa City so I can be at the hospital when my Mom has her surgery next Friday. That usually shuts them up.
My Mom & Dad told me the doctors have run many tests & are optomistic that the tumor on my mom's pancreas is centralized (not growing to other parts of her body) and they think the surgery will remove the growth. She will undergo a very invasive surgery, not only remove the tumor, but to investigate & determine if there are any other signs of cancer.As you all know, trips from Iowa to Texas are a bit pricey... the fact we just used up all our reserves to get into the new house was going to make the trip a stretch, so my aunt Jeannetta & I decided to drive back to Iowa together. BUT when Jeannetta approached her boss about taking time off to be in Iowa with my Mom, the man gave Jeannetta a GIFT of 2 plane tickets to Iowa plus time off! YAY!! See... God does provide! I don't even know this man, but you can bet he is in my prayers with a big THANK YOU attached (I'll send him a written TY too).
Please keep my Mom in your prayers next week. And my Dad, and my trip. Thanks. Love ya Mom! See you Thursday!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A little chilly

Today was chilly. I turned on the electric seats when I took Madison to school. It was 66. I'm adjusting well.

Eddie? I mean, Scott??

This is proof that it is genetic what brothers wear. Scott is getting packed to leave for his job in Houston & this is what I found him wearing... his church clothes & work boots. Eddie... your influence has worn off on Scott.

The weekend

  • FRIDAY: Cami, Jared's girlfriend, goes to school in Hutto, a neighboring school district. Her homecoming dance was Friday night AFTER the football game. So I checked with Hutto High School & found out Jared could NOT attend the dance since he goes to a different school. Bummer... So Jared watched the tail-end of the Hutto game since Cami is the 'dance captain' and low & behold... a back-door was open for him to get into the dance. Gee... How could that happen?!? At 1:45 Jared finally came home from a night of Country Line Dancing & Tejano Mexican music (Hutto is a primarily small, agricultural community).
  • SATURDAY: Dillon & Jared picked up the wrist corsages they ordered for their girlfriends for the Stony Point Homecoming Dance. Jared's was 2 pink roses (very pretty) and Dillon's was 5 white sweetheart roses (also very pretty).
  • SATURDAY EVENING: Jared & Dillon argued incessently over ONE black belt that each of them needed to wear. Apparently Dillon's is too small & he thought Jared had other black belts. Anyways, it ended up Dillon covertly left the house while Jared wasn't looking. An irrate Jared cell-phoned Dillon all the way to Olive Garden. Scott & I stopped at Kohl's & bought Jared a new belt while he went to get Cami. Hopefully Cami's mom wasn't planning on pictures at Cami's house... what a fashion faux-pau!
  • SATURDAY DINNER: Scott & I took Dillon to Tristyn's for pictures and then we drove the kids to Olive Garden for dinner. Good news is that the seating was only a 20 minute wait. The bad news is that their meal lasted just long enough for me to get Jared's black belt from Kohl's, pick-up Chinese & deliver it to our house for Jared & Cami's dinner before I had to go back across town to pick up Dillon & Tristyn to go to the dance. I didn't get much of a chance to do dinner with Jared & Cami. :( Luckily Scott remembered to take pictures of Jared & Cami before they left for the dance.
  • SATURDAY NIGHT: Scott, Madison & I watched 2 movies, 'Music & Lyrics' and 'Premonition'. Jared got home @ midnight (much better than night before) and Dillon was dropped off at 12:30. Yay! We Survived!

Homecoming Dates

Dillon & Tristyn Jared & Cami

Homecoming Festivities

I took this picture to explain a local Homecoming Tradition: The MUM. This mum is worn by students who want to show their school spirit. They are decorated with extra-curricular activities trinkets. Anyone can wear a mum for Homecoming Day & actually there were some kids wearing multiples of these things. Jared & Dillon's mums have been given to them by their girlfriends. The girls purchased a somewhat generic mum & decorated it with doo-dads that the boys like, or involved in, or whatever. Then you wear it to school on Homecoming Friday. Here is a close-up of Jared's. Notice the word 'Rugby' on the left... then the girlfriend's name: Cami.... many tiny cowbells.... Stony Point Tiger logo.... Jared's name.... Homecoming 2007.
This is basically the same picture as above, but I thought it was good of the boys in front of the fireplace.
Oh yes... the BIG game.... Dillon is showing his school spirit for the game against Cedar Park. Notice the paint on his arms is still wet. The finger gesture is the Stony Point Tiger "claw" symbol. Whatever. As long as it's not gang-related....
Unfortunately Stony Point lost. They have never won a homecoming game in their 6-year history. Bummer.

Friday, October 12, 2007

No envy here

Dillon & I were talking on the way to school this morning about the weather. We both decided we don't envy the cool weather our friends & family in Iowa are experiencing.
This morning was a little cooler, 66, but the high today will be 90. There is generally a good breeze so the 90 degree sun doesn't feel so hot & the humidity is finally coming down.
Perfect. I love it.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Homecoming is coming

I suppose I should be more excited about this weekend's Stony Point Homecoming and it being Dillon's first Homecoming experience, but DANG, does everything have to cost so much?!

Dillon & I ordered his girlfriend's wrist corsage yesterday: $19. He bought the tickets for Homecoming: $20 per couple. Olive Garden is planned for dinner with another couple they are 'doubling' with: $40. And he claims he needs a new dress shirt that 'matches' his girlfriend's dress... she says she'll go shopping with us to make sure it matches... I wonder if she could pay for it too.
None of this cost includes Jared's TWO Homecomings this weekend. He's got the same costs, the difference is that he has a job... Jared's girlfriend goes to a different High School who has their event on Friday and Jared & Dillon's is on Saturday.
I'm going to go broke.
But I'll get pictures doing it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Jared & Dillon's DIRTY little secret

I made the big announcement last Friday that we will NOT move the following 2 things into the new house: GARBAGE and DIRTY CLOTHES.
The boys looked at each other & proceeded to drag out 8 LOADS of dirty laundry from their walk-in closet. This is what our living room looked like with the loads divided on the floor. We found a misplaced video and several missing belts in the pile too.
Needless to say, I couldn't get it all done before Scott loaded up the washer & dryer and I was forced to take 4 loads with us. Hmpf. So much for that. I'd have had a cow if they produced just as much garbage.

The Legends Village

All the neighborhoods in Round Rock (seems like all over Austin too) are named. This is the large sign that was just completed to show where we live. The Legends Village.

From Madison's perspective

I gave Madison the camera on a short road trip her & I took. This is what she thought was worthy of capturing on film:
This cloud looks like a running puppy. This is me washing the windows of the car as we got gas.
Wow! Longhorns!

Only in Texas

Madison & I went to this very "Texan" burger joint in Liberty Hill when we went to watch the Wimberley football game.

It's weird the places you find a cactus growing. Seemingly out of a crack in the cement. Weird.

Ballpark Franks... they 'plump' when you cook 'em

As we prepared to move last week we pretty much ate everything in the fridge so we had less items to move (logical). Madison realized we had 1 and 1/2 packages of hot dogs left, so she decided to make all of them at once. She didn't realize the hot dogs 'plump' when they cook! This is what the pan looked like! Yikes!

Go UT!!

Madison got to go watch University of Texas beat the snot out of Texas A&M in volleyball last week. She's showing you the classic "Hook 'Em Horns" hand gesture before she busts out laughing. Silly girl.

A disclaimer from Shelly

First of all let me state this: I have a HUGE pet-peeve when people throw stuff out their windows. Even small things like gum or a cigarette butt really get me going. So it is very RARE I throw anything out the window. There must be a really good excuse, know what I mean?
So a couple of Sundays ago we were on our way to church. It takes us about 25 minutes to get to church so I chewed a piece of gum on the way (nothing worse that morning breath at church). It took an exceptional long time to get to church that morning because there was a marathon going on near the church. Grrrr.... My gum was getting really hard & nasty. So I.... yes.... I did.... I actually rolled down my window & dropped my gum out. I announced to everyone in the vehicle what I was doing, so they didn't think I was hypocritical. I plead that my gum was so nasty (as if I needed permission to dispose of it) that I HAD to get rid of it right then.

As if I didn't feel guilty enough for littering.... Look what was on the side of the truck when we got to church. I am SO guilty! I think it's actually still stuck to the truck. It melted there. Sorry Scott.

Congrats Dillon & Jared!!

A few Saturdays ago both Dillon & Jared were at competitions...
  • Dillon auditioned for District Choir (16 high schools in Austin area). His vocal instructor told him it is very rare for a freshman to advance to Regionals, but he should try-out. HE MADE IT! He sings as a bass. He will go through another audition for Regionals in a couple of weeks. Congrats Dillon!
  • Jared had a 2-day Debate Tournament in Pflugerville. The subject was Capital Punishment; he had to prepare arguments both 'for' and 'against' the subject. He won all 5 of his cases! He brought home a trophy! He is really a good debater.... take it from his mother.

Things I missed showing you

Even though I try to get pictures of everything exciting we do or see, I miss a few things. Not because I didn't WANT to take the picture, mostly because we've left the camera at the other house or most recently it ran out of batteries (lithium batteries are definitely a good investment).
Anyways, here's a few things I missed showing you:
  • Sunday morning at the new house we all responded to Madison screaming from the 2nd floor, pointing out the window to a COYOTE! He was walking along the treeline behind the house. WOW!
  • The sunsets here are AMAZING. Everynight the sky turns a vibrant pink & orange. Of course this is due to pollution in the atmosphere over Austin, but geez, it's awful pretty!
  • We have a glass top kitchen table now. The kids have been teasing the dogs by putting food on the surface of the table & watching the dogs jump up & bump their nose on the underneath side. It's a bit messy from the top & bottom, but it is really funny.
  • Last night Dillon turned the gas fireplace off & on with a switch on the wall. Macey was mesmerized by the flame which 'whooshes' from one side of the fake wood to the other. Her head would follow the flames as it started & went out. We had to stop when she started pawing at the hot glass. Bad idea.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Here She Is!!!

Here is the finished product... I took this picture last Thursday night, before we started moving in. I knew once we got started moving that we'd have boxes sitting outside & stuff like that, so here she is!!

We have been moving stuff Saturday, Sunday, Monday and today I am finishing the little stuff, like bath mats, cleaning supplies, vacuum, you know... the 'final' things. Although the computer has to stay at the rental for a while because we don't get cable in the new place until Monday. So I guess I should leave some toilet paper here. ;)
We got sod in the backyard today. Quincy quickly gave it the ol' practice dump. First time out. So I guess it gets his approval.

Monday, October 8, 2007

I owe you all....

I owe you all a big apology for not posting any blog entries, but you gotta hear what's been going on the past 2 weeks. I'm going to try to make this a 'Reader's Digest' version so that you can do something else today besides read this... ;)
Here we go:
Scott has been working in Houston. He started his 4th week there today. He's been staying in cheesy hotels that cost a fortune, so we've been looking for temporary housing for him. So far he's looked at a few apartments... but they're not much better than the hotel. Tonight he'll look at a place we've been in contact with that sounds great for him, so hopefully he'll be able to call somewhere 'home' while he's gone during the week.

Speaking of 'home'.... Many of you know that we've been in the process of building a new home in Round Rock for several months now (see previous posts). The house construction finished in late September & all we needed was to close the sale of our house in Waterloo on Oct. 2. BIG SET-BACK happened when the buyers from our house retracted their offer due to a job-loss. No sale. The timing was terrible (not just for us... poor guy!). We really felt that moving into the new house was not going to happen for us. Not then, not later. Not at all.
Then by the grace of God a miracle happened (thank you for everyone praying for this!! AND my mom & dad!!)... the loan officer working with us was able to pull some strings & creatively finance the loan without the equity from Iowa. YES!! We closed on the NEW house last Friday & we've been moving the past 3 days. WE MOVED!! I will post pics as soon as I can, probably tomorrow. STAY TUNED!

We've been attending Austin Stone Church which has really opened my eyes to the needs of the many. This is in a way I've never experienced before. I feel that God's timing is so perfect for the ups & downs of my life that I can do nothing but praise God for the ups... AND the downs. I know I'm not alone. Ever.

I will likely be making a trip back to Iowa in the next 3 weeks to visit with my mom. She is a WONDERFUL woman who I love very much and is facing a serious surgery in late Oct. I want to be there to encourage her & remind her how important she is to me. A 'growth' on her pancreas is causing concern & the doctors at the University of Iowa will do surgery to remove it. Please pray with me for her strength & quick recovery. It will be a long road for her & I am sad I'm 1000 miles away. :( I love you, mom!!

That's it for now... I'm supposed to be packing the last items at the rental house. I'm not getting very far. Oh well. It's not like I have much to do tomorrow.
Thanks for reading.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Wimberley Football

Last Friday night Madison & I went to Liberty Hill to watch the Liberty Hill Panthers play the Wimberley Texans.
My cousin, Margaux, is a cheerleader for Wimberley, so we had fun watching her cheer. These pics & videos are to get you in the football-mood & show you Margaux in action!

Margaux is in the front row, 2nd from the right. Kinda blurry, but she's there!

This is a quick clip of Margaux cheering to the student section. Margaux is in the front again, 2nd from the right.


Sidenote: Wimberley ended up losing. :( 35 to 10. Bummer.

Macey wants a bite too...

I was finishing my hamburger & Madison grabbed the camera because Macey was so insistent that she should have a part of my sandwich. Dumb dog.