Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Story of Wilson (or at least part of it)

God knows exactly what we need when we need it, doesn't he?

A little dog Wilson came to our family at the perfect time. He is a miniature picture of God's love and blessing and faithfulness to our family.
Let me tell you why.

For awhile now (years), Tom and I have been praying about moving. We love our house, we really do, but just wish for more space and a few things to be rearranged. A bathroom for the girls and one for the boy. A master bedroom on the bottom floor instead of 5 feet from the kids' rooms. A playroom for the neverending lego creations that are scattered all over our front room! It's been a prayer and just that. We have never really found a house we liked enough to move and the doors have never really opened for us.

However, a few weeks back, we walked into a house for sale and that feeling of HOME rang through my bones. Before I even saw the upstairs (which was PERFECT!) I knew I loved it. It was exactly what we were looking for, oversized garage to boot.

I haven't been that excited in a long time. I could already see us living there. Should I say I got my hopes up too high? Probably, but it seemed that God had helped us find the desire of our heart. It was perfect. It was also in a neighborhood with bucoos of friends; that was a major bonus.

But as soon as the door opened, it closed again BAM. Ugh. It seems we went through this last summer too! Major frustration and D.I.S.S.A.P.P.O.I.N.T.M.E.N.T.

Now the dog part....

Lately, I have been praying a specific prayer that God would help us find a dog perfect for our family. It's hard to pick out a dog, ya know? But during the time I faced the fact that we would not be living in the house of my dreams, God pretty much delivered him to our doorstep. The dog of our dreams.

Our friends the Wilsons had next door neighbors who breed Boston Terriers. They were moving and had sold all but one puppy. No one wanted him because he has a hernia. Really, no one wanted him because he was meant for us. We wanted a dog that doesn't shed. Check. One that isn't too big or small. Check. One that is intelligent. Well, that remains to be seen. One that is friendly. CHECK. He is friendly to people and other animals. He is sweet, funny, polite and chews on things like crazy.

But we know, just KNOW he is meant to be part of our family.

Now a puppy is not a house. However, with this warm, gorgeous, furry and full of kisses little dog, God's timing said to me, "Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD." `

Friday, July 30, 2010

Let's TRI

The 13th Annual Kids' Triathalon was held yesterday. I noticed that I sometimes tri to make up for my childhood weaknesses (in this case lack of athleticism) by getting my kids involved in things that might have been difficult for me. There's got to be something Freudian about that. So despite the fact that I am completely wacking out my children, I am proud to say that they participated in the event along with the Streeter kids and cousin Hallie.

Here are number 68, 69 and 71 (niece Hallie was 70).

We learned a lot about how triathalons work including an education on "transition areas." This is Luke's square.

First, the kids lined up at the pool. The cool thing about this triathalon is that they started the kids at 10 second intervals instead of all at the same time.

He woke up crying fat tears this morning: "I don't WANT to do a triathalon," (see I AM mentally messing with my kids), however, he was so excited to jump into the water at race time!
Hallie and Ellie during the biking portion of the race.

Luke headed to the finish line!
They all crossed the finish line! Woo Hoo! You will be glad to know that I was rational enough to allow them to participate in the SHORT course instead of the LONG course, and that the SHORT course was truly that - SHORT. 25m swim, 1/2 mile bike ride, 1/4 mile run. Maybe the damage is minimal!

They were all smiles after the race and Ellie said with satisfaction, "THAT FELT GREAT!" I smile because of all three of our kids, she is most like me. Her weakness is probably athletic ability. Hmmmm. Maybe I AM doing something right after all.

Everybody who finished got a medal on stage. They didn't even hand out 1st, 2nd and 3rd places. How's that for increasing everyone's self esteem?

My proudest moment though? After Luke finished, he spotted a little girl walking by herself through the running portion of the triathalon. He sprinted over to her and encouraged her, "You can do it! Let's run!" Luke crossed the finish line for a second time, this time with the little girl by his side. That was cool. And it made me feel a little better about my parenting abilities. ;-)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Doggone EXCITED!!!

The story will come later, but for now you MUST know that a dog came to us....
(this is the the moment that Ellie realized he was ours).
He is a Boston Terrier and his name is Wilson!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Long Time, No See

Three years ago our friends the Williams left us to move to Tallahassee, Florida to be on staff at Florida State. Remember? We never thought it would be the same again.

And well, it hasn't been.

With them to Florida they took this cooky spirit of uproarious laughter. I have laughed so hard around them I snorted and spit.

They took the surprising comfort of being able to talk about ANYTHING and I do mean anything. I have discussed things with Nicole that I may not have ever done so with any other human being.

I feel like I've known her since kindergarten.

So when she flew her little hiney back here to Oklahoma, I can't tell you how right it was to see her.
And laugh and talk and reintroduce our kids. The girls enjoyed hanging and talking about cell phones and music. Jourdan looked like she'd grown 2 feet. And I'm pretty sure she did.
The boys, who were only 4 when they last saw each other, picked up like they were best buds who lived next door to each other. Oh, how I wish they did! Next time, Nicole, if you are reading this, please come back sooner. Don't wait 3 years! Or I will blog about some of those crazy things we talk about and blame it all on you. Don't forget reading U.S. I'm not afraid to tell it to the world!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Where Boys Become Men.... Jenks Mighty Mite Football Combine, 2010.
150 boys ages 6,7, and 8, 10 different drills, 2 nights of workouts, two dozen coaches with clipboards, wondering.... who is the best fit for my team?

Helmets, Pads, Mouthpieces, Whistles blowing, Coaches Yelling, Encouraging, "Daylight's Burning!" Throwing, Catching, Tackling, Taking the Hit. Down, Set, Hut!

Reveling in pure testosterone!

1 football draft....

which team will Luke be on? Black, Silver, Nickel, Gold, Titanium? No, BRONZE!!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Lego Love

Our last stop in on our OKC trip was the first stop that Luke wanted to make, (I know this because he asked me about 2 million times when we were going to the Lego store) but we had to wait to the very end to go there! (and unfortunately by that time the little dude had lost his shopping priveleges. - this had something to do with karate chopping bottles on glass shelves while at POPs)

The Lego Store in Penn Square Mall was stop #4. Needless to say, Luke was in lego-heaven. What was cool was how much all the girls in the group dug the Lego Store too. Nana ended up with quite a haul in Christmas presents. (She buys early. Lest you think that July is early, please understand she starts in January.) (and Luke got the much-anticipated Space Shuttle, hopefully he'll forget about it by Christmas.) (highly doubtful),

Let's just pray the Lego Store stays in OKC for now; it is too much of an obsession and/or temptation for our little Lego lover!

Monday, July 19, 2010

OKC Memorial

I am ashamed to admit that I live an hour and 1/2 from the site of the Oklahoma City bombing and in the 15 years since the horrific event that claimed 168 lives, I have never visited the stunning memorial that was built. Stop #3 - OKC Memorial and Museum

This is the edge of the Survivor's Wall that we saw when we first arrived.

Bolded sections from Wikipedia:

Survivors' Wall: The only remaining original portions of the Murrah Building are the southeast corner, known as the Survivors' Wall, and a portion of the south wall. The Survivors' Wall includes several panels of granite salvaged from the Murrah Building itself, inscribed with the names of more than 800 survivors from the building and the surrounding area, many of whom were injured in the blast.

This is the truly beautiful reflective pool that was built in the center of the memorial site.
Reflecting Pool: A thin layer of water flowing over polished black granite, the Reflecting Pool runs east to west down the center of the Memorial (also see reflecting pool) on what was once Fifth Street. Visitors who see their reflection in the reflecting pool are supposed to see "a face of a person changed by domestic terrorism."

And here are 168 chairs for the 168 people who were killed.
Field of Empty Chairs: 168 empty chairs hand-crafted from glass, bronze, and stone represent those who lost their lives in the tragedy. A bombing victim's name is etched in the glass base of each chair. The chairs represent the empty chairs at the dinner tables of the victims' families. The chairs are arranged in nine rows symbolizing the nine floors of the building, and each person's chair is on the row (or the floor) on which the person worked or was visiting when the bomb went off. The chairs are also grouped according to the blast pattern, with the most chairs nearest the most heavily damaged portion of the building. The westernmost column of five chairs represents the five people who died but were not in the Murrah Building when the bomb went off (two in the Water Resources Board building, one in the Athenian Building, one outside near the building, and one rescuer). The 19 smaller chairs represent the children killed in the bombing. Three unborn children died along with their mothers, and they are listed on their mothers' chairs beneath their mothers' names.
The fence where people left mementos is still standing. New mementos have been added, but there is something powerful if yet strange about this fence.
The Memorial Fence: A ten foot tall (3.05 m) chain link fence was originally installed around the area that is now the Reflecting Pool and the Field of Empty Chairs to protect the site from damage and visitors from injury. The Fence stood for more than four years and became famous itself, with visitors leaving stuffed animals, poems, keychains, and other items there as tributes. During the construction of the Outdoor Memorial, 210 feet (64 m) of the Fence was moved to the west side of the Memorial, along the 9:03 side or the 'healing' side. The remainder of the Fence is in storage. Visitors may still leave small items along and in the Fence; the mementos are periodically collected, catalogued, and stored.
Children painted tiles for the entrance of the museum. This is one that spoke for me.
More than 5,000 hand-painted tiles, from all over the United States and Canada, were made by children and sent to Oklahoma City after the bombing in 1995. The tiles are now stored in the Memorial's Archives, and a sampling of those tiles is on the wall in the Children's Area, along with a series of chalkboards where children can draw and share their feelings. The Children's Area is north of the 9:03 gate, on the west side of the Museum

The entrance to the museum also has a chalkboard area where people can write their thoughts.

I think that's a cool idea. It did appear that the children might fry like eggs, but they sweated it out and each wrote a message.

Luke composed one all by himself: "You are in the hands of God."

Finally, the rememberance tree, a perfect ending to our visit.

The Survivor Tree: An American elm on the north side of the Memorial, this tree was the only shade tree in the parking lot across the street from the Murrah Building, and commuters came in to work early to get one of the shady parking spots provided by its branches. Photos of Oklahoma City taken around the time of statehood (1907) show this tree, meaning it is currently at least 103 years old. Despite its age, the tree was neglected and taken for granted prior to the blast. Heavily damaged by the bomb, the Tree ultimately survived after nearly being chopped down during the initial investigation, in order to recover evidence hanging in its branches and embedded in its bark.
The force of the blast ripped most of the branches from the Survivor Tree, glass and debris were embedded in its trunk and fire from the cars parked beneath it blackened what was left of the tree. Most thought the tree could not survive. However, almost a year after the bombing, family members, survivors and rescue workers gathered for a memorial ceremony under the tree noticed it was beginning to bloom again. The Survivor Tree now thrives, in no small part because the specifications for the Outdoor Memorial design included a mandate to feature and protect the Tree. One example of the dramatic measures taken to save the Tree: one of the roots that would have been cut by the wall surrounding the Tree was placed inside a large pipe, so it could reach the soil beyond the wall without being damaged. A second example is the decking around the Tree, which is raised several feet to make an underground crawlspace; workers enter through a secure hatchway and monitor the health of the Tree and maintain its very deep roots.
The inscription around the inside of the deck wall around the Survivor Tree reads:
The spirit of this city and this nation will not be defeated; our deeply rooted faith sustains us.
Hundreds of seeds from the Survivor Tree are planted annually and the resulting saplings are distributed each year on the anniversary of the bombing. Thousands of Survivor Trees are growing today in public and private places all over the United States; saplings were sent to Columbine High School after the massacre there, to New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani after the September 11, 2001 attacks, the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007, and various other times.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Stop #2 on our trip to OKC....
Pops, near Edmond, Oklahoma

My friend Jessie introduced us to this in-the-middle-of-nowhere spot, so we wanted to introduce everyone else to the fun of Pop's!

Pops lives up to it's name by stocking over 500 different varieties of pop! Pick up an empty six pack box and fill it up with whatever tickles your tongue.
I felt like strangling Luke right before this picture was taken. Ok, not REALLY, but he was getting a kick out of pretending to knock down the thousands of bottles that line the shelves of the store. Yes, the bottles are glued down, but I don't think that small detail would stop him from ruining the display. Aargh!!

Once we got outside, the kids (my 3 plus 6 cousins) ran off some steam while we waited for dinner. The menu was pretty much what you'd expect at a truck stop, but yummy burgers and fries and onion rings, and of course, POP!

Looking at all the different kinds of pop was fun; Luke discovered a bottle of pop called Ramune' that has a marble in it. Not sure if he likes the taste of the pop or the marble. Ellie likes that kind and the classic Coke in a glass bottle. Me, of course, Pepsi, and Kami found a gourmet cream soda called "Hank's!"
At night, the 66 foot neon pop bottle glows for all to see, and this is another MUST see near Oklahoma City, Oklahoma!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Science in the Summer

Oklahoma City is less than 2 hours away from home. So can you tell me why we have hardly ever been there? We may drive through once in awhile, but I have never taken my kiddos there for any kind of outing. Until now! We planned a short 26 hour stay in OKC, and had a lot of fun! I'm putting our four stops in four different posts....

Stop #1 - The Science Museum Oklahoma, formerly known as the Omniplex.

We spent about 4 hours there, and the kids loved it! It appealed to all age groups, from 3-12. They didn't get bored once. My only regret is that I didn't take enough pictures. I got most of the cheesy photo-ops, but was too absorbed in the scientific insights to snap many other pics!
The tickets were around $15.00 for adults and $12.00 for kids, but that was with a visit to their 3D Theatre Experience. The theatre was closed the day we were there, so we only paid $11.00 and $9.00. Not bad!
I was stationed at "The Peg Board" for a looooooong time though, because Luke could simply not get enough of it! He was fascinated with the pegs, the ramps, the funnels and getting a marble to run from the top of his contraption to the bottom. He loved it so much that it gave me an idea for redecorating his room..... hmmmmmm.
All in all, I would say the kids were in awe of the museum. We could spend another 4 hours there and still not be bored. We missed the Mad Science Experiment, the 3D Theatre and there were several rooms we didn't even experience.It's a MUST SEE if you are ever in the Oklahoma City Area!

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Pain Full Day

First.... Luke was playing on the school playground was stung twice by a wasp or other awful insect. Yes, again. He was stung on the hand and the ear and his ear swelled up like a red water balloon.

Second.... Kami had her 12 year old checkup and was required to have two shots. Let's just say she was not a happy to be 12 today. At ALL.

Third.... Ellie cried herself to sleep for 20 minutes in fear of being stung by a wasp and/or having to get her 12 year old shots.

As I tucked Luke in bed, he bemoaned, "it's been a Pain FULL day."

I just had to chuckle.

For another painful day, click here... (one of my Darling former students)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Boys of Summer

Is there not something very sweet about your children's friendships with your own dearest friends' kids?

It's almost an extension of family: these are people your kids have no choice but to get to know... for better or worse. In this case, it's for the better - Eli, Brennon and Luke had a heydey in Stillwater one evening last week. Starla and Kerry are two college friends who have known me through the good, bad and ugly, and they love me anyway. Their boys are no less precious to me, and I love these kids because they are every bit as full of life as my own boy. Brennon and Eli give Luke the stamp of coolness, even though he is over three years younger than they are.
The boys hanging with Eskimo Joe himself.
and here is Buffy. (Ok, I have spent many an evening in Joe's but never have been graced by the presence of these furry two.)
We took them swimming - they were bursting with whoops and hollas!
Hilarous in their goggles.
We tried hard to keep them out of the baby pool, especially when the babies were there...
but they just couldn't resist the urge to run a wild streak.
Here they are at Starla's house, checking out Eli's music collection.

Wish they both lived closer, but glad they got a chance to be "boys" - if only for an evening.