Wednesday, December 30, 2015


I'm planning to post something quick each evening, hopefully with a photo.

Sort of a 365/Photo Gratitude Journal.

I miss my blog.

I miss our memories being recorded.

Life has picked up its pace if, that's possible it was already going pretty fast, and we love pouring over this space...

a space full of our memories.

Bare with me as I'm not always good at sticking to these type things, especially when life is whirling in all directions.

So yesterday I should have shared this:

My nephew received his Eagle Scout, and yesterday was the big day to honor him and the person he honored with his Eagle Scout project.  Pictured here are my Mom, Papa (stepdad, but I hate that term) and Aileen the wife of Joel Durrett.  Joel was a big influence in my nephew's young life,  as Gavin was considering what to do for his Eagle Scout project, it became clear to him that this would be the most meaningful.

My parents have raised Gavin since he was 18 months old.  He is their heart and joy. 
Papa is a court reporter, we've all been raised up within the legal community.  Gavin especially so.

Our State Representative Larry Phillips came and presented Gavin with a flag that has flown at the Texas State Capitol.

My Linus is in the long sleeves.  He and three other scouts led the pledge.  It was such an honor to be asked to do this, Linus also got to help Gavin with his Eagle project, what a learning experience for a young scout.  The 4 boys who led the Pledge each have a Mom who work in the Court system within the County, I've had the great pleasure of working with the other two Moms.

I love this photo, I greatly admire both of  the ladies here.

I am so thankful for Gavin and that we've been able to spend the last 5 years being back here in Texas to be nearer to him and get to see and know him better.  Watching him accomplish this very challenging task fills my heart with pride and it meant the world to our family to be a part of this moment with him.

Monday, December 14, 2015

A Birthday Weekend

We Got In On the Fun - sorry, no sound.

This photo is from the morning after Jonah came home, he got in late and Ben had just realized Jonah was here.  Ben rarely lets anyone snuggle him, I love this moment.

We had a wonderful birthday weekend for our resident double digit guy!  It would take something big like turning 10 to bring Pete and I to the Big Cheese place, a casino for kids, but we all had a great time and even Benjamin did really well.  We loved that Linus had such a fun birthday, filled with family and friends.

Once the party at the Casino for kids was over we came home and I fixed Thai Chicken Wraps,  a request by the birthday boy.  Friends and family joined us and the party continued as we enjoyed Jonah's game system that had a dance off.  What can I say, we love to make fools of ourselves.  

Sunday was spent recovering from Saturday and cooking, cooking cooking.  I am taking orders for baked goods and prepared 4 loaves of Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting and also prepared a dinner for a Bridge Club meeting Monday night.  To say the house smelled delicious was an understatement.  I also created a new soup which was a combination of Taco Soup and one I saw on my favorite cooking site (yes, I've totally stepped away from a vegetarian/plant based quasi diet) (I think it is fair to say I have a bi-polar diet) and the results were amazing.  I wish I had taken pictures, but when I make it again I will write down the recipe/take pictures and share!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015


Jonah is home and oh how I wish Noah was here for Christmas too.  It is very hard to be away from my adult children for so long.  It is easy to be happy for them as the go after their dreams and find their direction in life, I love watching them fly - but, I miss them...a lot.

Jonah is here for a month before he embarks on the next phase of his military career.  We plan to soak up every moment he is home because I'm unsure of when we will see him next, and we are very thankful that his time in the Middle East was not during a time of war.  Nevertheless, it is still unsettling to have my son be in a job that should there be a need, he will risk his life to fight for his fellow Marines and for his Country.  I'm proud of him, but I'm selfish too, I always want him to come home.

We had his Uncle, cousins, and Grandparents over for Gumbo last night.  We did a come and go for any who wanted to drop by.  We plan to do this again soon with my side of the family but hope to make it more a Christmas celebration after the Decorations are up.

Jonah loves Shrimp Gumbo so I made a huge pot of it on Sunday (because everyone knows Gumbo tastes better after a day or two) and wouldn't let anyone touch it which was like defending the one true ring.

We love this, my Dad used to always make a great big pot of Gumbo, complete with Crab Claws so when I make this it reminds me of my Dad and Jonah reminds me a lot of my Dad so it is perfect that he loves this as one of his favorite meals.  It did my heart good to see everyone come by to see him and enjoy a bowl of this too.  I didn't have much time to prepare since I was working today, but a quick trip to the store to pick up some Chocolate Chip Cookies, the Gumbo was made on Sunday and the rice cooker was turned on as soon as I got home made this simple, and delicious - I love it when everything works out.

While Jonah is home we have so much planned.  I hope to update the blog to keep track of our memories.  A friend from high school has a Christmas Tree farm (One of his tree's is at the White House this year) and we are going out there to cut a small one.  We also have some fun Holiday gatherings, a play , and much more.  We've also enjoyed our annual Run Run Rudolph, the town Christmas Tree Lighting, Snowflake Festival (where it was over 65 degrees, gotta love Texas), and the Parade.

December is always a whirlwind of activities, we sadly missed our favorite Christmas Pops this year, but we WILL be there next year.  

I hope to be back soon with more pics & lots of good memories.

~Live an Interesting Life~

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Open for the Holidays

I've opened the blog up for the Holidays 
I have lots of recipes I enjoy during this time of year
and thought you might like access to them for your own Holiday Baking.


Sunday, May 24, 2015


Changes came very quickly to our family.  As of this time, I"m going to make this blog private and you are welcome to contact me at if you would like to subscribe.  I am returning to my former job with the county.  Due to this, my blog will be going private, but I will continue blogging - just not sharing it on facebook.  Please send me an email if you'd like to be on the list.  I may make it public again in a few months, once I feel comfortable - but, for now when I'm unsure, I tend towards being as safe as possible.  Thank you for understanding!


P.S.  It will go private June 1st.  I will not be updating until that time, but will regularly update after that.  We need to adjust.  Please continue to pray for my husband as he heals!  Thank you!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Jonah's Birth

May 1994

Fall of 1994

Easter 1995 with my family

Summer 1997 with Isaac
They loved this dirt pile at my Mom's house so much and would spend hours playing there.

              Fall 2006 and Summer 2011.  My brother would invite the boys to come spend weekends with him in DC, Jonah always enjoyed those trips.  A good friend of mine opened a snowcone stand and we loved going out there.  This photo was taken at their grand opening.
 High School Graduation June 2013
 Clowning around waiting on Simon to join us for a photo. 

About to leave for bootcamp.

Fall 2013 a Marine

 Summer 2014

Birth Story to be posted later today, my brother is here and I am enjoying his visit right up until he has to go.  I thought I would go ahead and share the photos of Jonah, my very own Tom Sawyer.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

What Works for Us - Laundry

There are still 7 children living at home.  Laundry continues to be a never ending cycle, along with dishes, these the few things I can get a little snarky about when I hear someone complain about their laundry situation and I think 'oh, you had to do 3 whole loads today - how cute', I do 3 loads every day and that isn't if I wash bedding...3 would be the minimum....but I keep those comments to myself because I did sign up for this after all and honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way.
*I just reread this and gosh it does sound snarky, I'm so sorry! I really do have to keep my 'woe is me' in check over laundry.  Sad but true.*

*I'd rather have full laundry baskets than an empty house, and it will be empty all too soon*

I should write a blog post about all the laundry systems that don't work, because I've tried everything under the sun to figure out this beast.  The only thing that realistically worked and worked well was having a family closet/laundry room combination.  In our last home we had the space for 2 washers and 2 dryers.  I lined 2 walls with closet organizers and then arranged clothes based on size.  I washed, dried, folded or hung up all in the same room.  This also kept bedrooms free of clothes all over the floor because only Pete and I kept clothes in our room.  It worked consistently and brilliantly, I loved it.  Then we moved and I lost the dream laundry room/family closet and traded it for what I refer to now as The Dursleys because my washer and dryer are in a closet under the stairs with no laundry room to speak of, what an adjustment.

I usually like for a system to have been in place for years or at least a good 6 months before sharing 'what works for us', but I'm hopeful that what I've recently implemented will continue and in that spirit I'm going to go ahead and share that this works for us.  If it changes, I will update as I have in other blog posts about what we are up to, or at least updated with what is working now.
*and no, this isn't my solution*

 *or this*
 I  have tried assigning days for older kids to do there own clothes, this often results in the laundry I need to get done piling up as I push and cajole them to finish the process.  They all have jobs, school and a social life so leaving clothes in either the washer or the dryer would leave me throwing up my hands and completing the cycle for them just so that I could also use the machines or dumping the clothes on their beds for them to finish.  I would wonder if I was teaching them anything at all and become frustrated with the whole process.  It never went well.
I believe in helping older kids become independent adults, and getting them in the mindset of taking care of their own laundry + respecting that others need to as well, is important.  I've recently stopped washing their clothes again (a few weeks ago).  I still wash their bedding.  I do the household laundry during the day, at 4 pm, I'm done and I make sure the washer/dryer are empty.  They take turns each evening doing their own laundry and when I shut the house down at 10 pm I make sure both washer/dryer are empty.  This is working.

It is also keeping me from the frustration of finishing the laundry only to have an older child come dump all their clothes into the hampers spoiling the sense of accomplishment.  It is actually this habit that helped me come up with our new system.  The older boys don't seem to mind either, and they seem to appreciate the independence of doing it themselves - no one wants to frustrate Mom.  This is a win/win.

The new system is:

I do household laundry during the day. 
(this includes Pete & I, kitchen, bathroom, younger kids clothes plus bedding)
Washer/Dryer empty at 4pm
High school aged and above take turns using the washer and dryer at night.
Washer/Dryer empty at 10pm

It works for us.

Monday, May 11, 2015

A Mother's Day to Remember

We began the day by teaching CCD and going from over 30 children in our class down to 9.  This could have been due to the storms that had been going on all week. It was raining with expected thunderstorms or it could have been due to the fact that First Communion had taken place the weekend prior.  This will be my second year teaching CCD and last year my class went from about 35 down to 6.  We have one more Sunday, and I really do hope to see more of the kids before we break for the year.  Pete and I have truly enjoyed teaching them.

Pete and I took a drive out to the Dam after our class.  When we began dating in 1990, it was one of only 3 times flood water has gone over the spillway.  We used to drive out to the dam all the time, and then we've picnicked out there many times.  With so much rain over the last few weeks, we went to see the water levels.  The lake has finally reached a good level, but due to the drought over the last few years, it doesn't seem to be in any danger of the spillway being needed.

We picked up lunch for everyone and while the kids and I enjoyed lunch at home, Pete had to head in to work because of some scheduled maintenance (on Mother's Day, he didn't do the scheduling).  

When Pete got back from work, we set out to deliver our Mother's Day gifts to our Moms.  When we got to his Mom's house the tornado sirens started going off.  We headed home quickly.  When we got here the sirens had stopped.  I checked the weather, and saw that a tornado had been spotted within our county but not near us.  Then the sirens went off again.  We all headed to the closet, because the siren nearest us was blaring.

We were all huddled in the closet, including Samwise so it was more than a little tight.  The sirens went off 3 different times and we kept listening for the sound, at one point it got really loud but otherwise it didn't feel like a tornado could possibly near us.  The sky wasn't it's usual color, and the sounds were not what they usually are during a tornado.  I've been in enough tornado weather to know...except as evidenced by the photos, maybe I haven't because the tornado was right on top of us, thankfully it did not touch down.

We found out later, this was in the air above us.  It was raining hard and so cloudy you couldn't judge the sky well at all.  Surreal.

Really, this is right over my neighborhood.  I am absolutely amazed it didn't touch down and just so very thankful!

A friend of a friend shared this on facebook, this wasn't near our home but near some friends of ours.  It also didn't touch down but did create quite a bit of damage.  We are all so very fortunate.

A friend of ours shared a little history with us via facebook, which especially made us thankful.  In 1896 on May 15, 73 people lost their lives due to a tornado.

So, it was a Mother's Day to remember!  As far as I know, there wasn't anyone injured or killed due to the tornadoes in the area, thanks be to God.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

~Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life~

~Every Thursday at Like Mother Like Daughter~


I have fallen in love with this movie.  Age of Adaline is visually beautiful, not just Blake Lively but the whole movie.  A formula that is going to capture my attention is one that involves, beautiful cinematography, great sets and beautiful costumes to go along with a good story line.  When we left the theater, Pete said "I know you loved this one, but I liked it really stays with you".  We may be suckers for a sappy love story, but I really did enjoy this one, it is set apart.  It was a love story about Mother's and Daughter's as much as one about letting go and embracing love from another.  Really, the vintage costumes and elegance is what drew me in.  If you love all that, I highly recommend this movie.  Read all the reviews to decide if it meets your personal criteria in terms of 'appropriate'.  We all have our own lines in the sand, this one did not cross mine, but I don't want to assume to know anyone elses.  I loved it.


I got a gift card to JoAnn's for my birthday.  We found this great fabric for my resident Dr. Who fans!  He was NOT excited about being drug to the fabric store, but when he found the isle full of super hero/comic book fabric and then stumbled across Star Wars and Dr. Who it was like a revelation to him.  He kept saying "I didn't know they made this stuff"  "Wow, Mom you could make me all kinds of things out of this" if my que isn't already filled to the brim with projects, but hey - I'm so happy he enjoyed the trip and let me get my shopping done that I'm making him some pj's.  I love this guy!


I seriously believe there is a GWTW meme for any situation, as evidenced by the large file of them that I have between my phone and computer.  
I may have a problem.

*sorry about the language, but this is awesome*

Mammy is my favorite, my absolute most favorite even above Melanie.  
I don't think this movie would have been as good without Hattie McDaniel.
Did you know that Clark Gable refused to attend the premiere because she wasn't invited.  She insisted he attend, and he only did to please her. 
I love learning more about her, she must have been an amazing person.


I was recently reminded of this which caused me to think of a rule I've long held: 
 When someone keeps you arms length, trust them. 
This was brought about after reading the book

*affiliate link*
I love my friends, I've been so richly blessed by being open to new friends.  Women can be notorious, at whatever age, in drawing circles that leave others out.  I really think that the circles drawn are more done so because there is a kinship among the group, and no real intent to leave anyone out.  Sometimes though, wagons are circled and there is a defined barrier thrown up.  Trust this, and don't push through.  The Holy Spirit is often protecting you from something. I've always ALWAYS found this to be true.

*It isn't lost on me that I followed a GWTW meme 'funny' with a statement about kindness...ironic, yes but also funny.  Melanie would never leave anyone out, Scarlet on the other hand is an example of what not to do in just about every situation...except how to dress, eat, and wear curtains properly*

post script
I just reread this and realized it may come across that I'm vague posting.  I'm not.  The last {real} is based on a recent observation, nothing personal to me. I just hate witnessing this type of thing happen and see the pain it causes, I want to encourage the dear person feeling left out.
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