Monday, July 18, 2016

July Daybook

Outside My Window - Hot, humid, sticky, and everything you could imagine for Texas in July.  It doesn't keep us from enjoying a bonfire as the sunsets.  Enjoying time with cousins, s'mores, and a great game of Spades though.

I am thinking - About a lot.  Samwise is feeling better, such an easy even if expensive fix.  Meds, better dog food and the puppy is almost good as he can be.  We can see him gaining weight, enjoying some of his favorite games, and not constantly itching.  I love how easy this fix was.  
Benjamin, not an easy fix.  I'm torn between oversharing, using Autism as a crutch, and just plain old feelings of a mom, a parent, a friend, of everything.  Meltdowns are getting worse, and more frequent.  I think we are dealing with a blood sugar issue too, but don't know for sure.  We absolutely do not have this all figured out, not at all.  Feeling very overwhelmed and thinking a lot about how to insulate him but not baby him.  Protect him, but challenge him.  I am enjoying the moments I can slip outside, not die from the heat, and just be quiet with my own thoughts and prayers.  I know we will get there, I know it...but, *exhale* how, when, what, and all of the Mom guilt too.  Such a wad of emotion, I don't even know what to do with it.   I sincerely wish Ben's fix was as easy as Sam's, but then Dogs are uncomplicated...people, not so much.  Mostly, just coming to grips with the reality that he isn't going to outgrow this and there isn't an easy fix - it is a process, ongoing, always and forever.

I am wearing - We got our bracelets in.  We love them and wear them every day.  (and this is where I question myself...crutch, over doing it, I don't know, I just don't know)

I am creating - A home.  The recent gifts from my Mom have provided me lots of inspiration to 'feather my nest' and oh boy am I enjoying this.  I used to love to decorate my home.  Somewhere between newborns, and teens, and life... my home became a functional frat house full of love and lots of what is practical.  I tucked things away for 'some day decorating' and many many treasures got broken or lost between moves and life with a full house.  It is such a joy to bring things out, add in my Mom's and reclaim this art of making a home.  It is so satisfying to me in every way.  Perhaps having to let go of  of it for so long, just to not lose my mind, makes me love it all the more, I don't know, but it has been a source of great contentment and joy.  The kids love it too, making it all the more wonderful.

I am going - To start riding my bike again.  I love it, and the kids love bike riding.  The oppressive heat has made it difficult but we plan to begin again soon in the evenings.  Faith has a purple bike that is also darling.  I am eager to get back at it.

I am wondering - How people still use this word.  I heard it just the other day and I felt slapped by it.  Remove this word from your vocabulary - remove it.  It doesn't belong under any circumstances.  

I am hoping - To get a new family photo with everyone in 2016.  I'm praying, and wishing, and begging all my kids to be here for Christmas.   If Military and jobs can allow it.  It would be the best Christmas present!

I am learning -  I have a lot to learn, and all of the above.

I am pondering - How exactly to make these for Christmas gifts.  I love them!!

From my kitchen -  Pete and I have been wanting to do a routine Friday Fish Fry with an open invitation to friends and family for years.  We plan to serve this next Friday for those we love to come by and enjoy.  Life kept telling us for a while 'not yet' 'not right' but we both have felt a nudge to 'make it so'.  This Friday we are serving up some Catfish, red beans and rice along with hush puppies.  All we love who live here (and you know who you are..hint, hint W & H) are welcome to drop in, add to the menu, and enjoy...(LeAunt I'm talking to you, and bring the baby because it has been too long since I held her).  

A favorite quote -  I had an emotional week.  I caught another mother saying something cruel about my child at the pool (in front of me).  She didn't know he was mine, and when she realized, she was so embarrassed she left.  Words are powerful, they can heal and they can harm.  Choose your words wisely.

A peek into my day - This morning Pete asked me what my agenda was for today.  I replied that it was an easy breezy day.  I planned to make some Dr. appt's but otherwise the kids and I would be at the pool all afternoon....then karma laughed and laughed.
*I got a phone call from a child in Dallas soon afterward who needed to be picked up - Migraine while on the job.  
*Called to get Dr. appt. for several, and eye appointment for several - headache triggered my realization that I need to take care of that.
*Take oldest son to get new copy of birth certificate and social security card because in an effort to reduce all he brought home from Florida, he threw all that out and needs it - like now, for another opportunity (more on that later).  
*While helping with this, get a call from Braums that a child who had the day off needed to come in due to 3 people not showing up for their shift.  Um, I kinda needed him right that second.....
*Get home, make lunch and feed kids.
*Take oldest son to work.
*Take sick son to pick up his car 30 mins away and drive home with him close (because #sickwithmigraineheadache
*Take sick son to Dr.
*While at Dr., get call from one son at work that he needs to be picked up.  
*Leave Dr., pick up one, drop off at home - go back to Dr. where luckily adult child can see Doc without me.
*Return home, start dinner.
*Field about 4 phone calls from Doc offices, and children.
*Add to this about 6 loads of laundry.

One of my favorite things - The wind chimes.  I love them and look forward to steeling a moment outside to enjoy them tonight, after prayers, after bedtimes, and while it is quiet.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

That Time I Forgot to Share About Prom

Two of our guys actually went to Prom this year.  School dances don't seem to be much of a draw for our boys and only one other has gone to the Prom.  He went with a group of friends and they had a blast.  This scenario was similar except these two had dates, but they still all went as friends.  I think that despite Prom being the same weekend as Mother's Day it was still worth it, everyone had a fantastic time and made wonderful memories.

Micah and Bailey are so beautiful in their Prom Dresses.  These girls are seriously the best.

Micah is a very special part of our family.  We met her when she worked at Braums and she has a special place in our hearts as an honorary daughter.  Last Summer she helped me a ton with babysitting and driving kids places for me.  I don't know what I would have done without her.  All my kids love her, we are going to miss her when she is off far away in college next year but are excited to see what she does and where she goes in life.

I just wanted to get these memories down.  
~Prom 2016~

Thursday, July 7, 2016

~Pretty, Happy, Funny Real~

~Capturing the Context of Contentment in Every Day Life~

~Every Thursday at Like Mother Like Daughter~


My Mom has been downsizing.  She and Papa have decided to move into something more suited to their needs and I do believe it is a perfect fit.  I was the very blessed recipient of some of my Mom's favorite things and I hope it makes her happy to see them being loved here at The Burrow.  
The top photo was my Great Grandmothers bread baking bowl.  It is wooden and she would add all ingredients and knead it then let it rise all within the same bowl.  If you look closely there is an indention in the handle, it is from all the years of use where her thumb held tight onto the bowl.  I love to bake bread, and can see how handy this bowl must have been.  I do not want to harm it though so it will continue it's retirement from bread service but has been put to good use holding fresh fruit on my table.  I love having it out to see, a treasure for sure.
The middle photo are the stained glass windows my Mom placed in the Cathedral style windows of her home.  I plan to add a valance at some point to cover the top, but for now I don't mind that there isn't one.  I got some heavy weight wire wrapped in twine and hung them at my sewing window in my kitchen.  I cannot express how happy they make me.  I have one other stained glass I will share at next weeks PHFR.
The last photo is a sign of my mother's ingenuity.  When my nephew went to live with her as a baby, a very dear friend of hers gave her their own crib to use.  Their daughter no longer needed it, and Mom had grand-babies visiting as well as this special situation.  Once all the babies were all too big for a crib, she took the mattress springs and painted them bright red, then hung all her wind chimes from it.  I have always loved this feature on her back porch and am delighted that now it is on my back porch.  It sounds so pretty out there too.  

Part of my #nourish365 is to document meals etc.  These boys devoured the Broccoli Beef I made last night.  I didn't buy the skirt steak as recommended but used the stew meat I found on sale - and it was still delicious.  It makes me so happy to see them gathered together, we sure miss the ones who cannot be with us due to Military, work, etc.. 

Our bracelets came in.  We have ordered a variety of I.D. bracelets for Ben, but we thought it was a good idea for us to wear them too.  

This came up in my Timehop and I just love it, when I captured this moment I knew it was a gem, my Mom is not a fan of swimming (at all) but when her Grand kids are around she finds herself doing all kinds of things outside of her comfort zone, and having fun!  

These two, oh my goodness.  My cousins were my life growing up, I love staying in touch with them as adults and treasure all our times together.  It does my heart good to see my children have this same experience with their cousins.  I am a firm believer in the wisdom of 'The more people who love your child, the better for your child'.  Cousins, aunts, uncles, especially Grand parents - those are anchors.

Okay, this was seriously one of the best VBS years ever.  Cave Quest was awesome, the program at our parish was so fun, and a great time for learning.  This photo was from one of the games, Linus loved that his team won.  My sister-n-law took this photo for me (and by the way she lead the entire VBS, wow) that is my niece hamming it up in the background which is why I love that little girl so much - and this photo is priceless.  Linus wants VBS to come back for one more week, but we decided to play these games at our next 'all' family get together so that has pacified him for now.  It was seriously fun!

They were all laughing and smiling at their cousin's two year old birthday party until I pulled out my phone to snap a photo - then, the look of 'really Mom, again" and all other shenanigans went down.  

You are darn right I bought it, I wanted to buy them all and send them to my cousins!


Samwise has not been well.  Our poor puppy has suffered with some sort of skin irritation that we think we've finally figured out is food borne.  It is just our way of doing everything that we would fall in love with a dog that needs a designer diet - right, a designer dog.  But...we love him, and he was suffering from all the itching and his hair quickly began to fall out and as the heat poured on outside we just kept him inside but that made him miserable too.  The Vet has placed him on three different medications and a special diet to see if this will provide any relief, she keeps assuring us this is a common condition among German Shepherds, but that doesn't make us or Sam feel any better.  It does help me not feel so guilty about his state, he eats like crazy but has been losing weight.  We have finally rounded a corner this week and I do believe the meds and diet are helping.  This dog, he is just so much a part of our family, we are silly over him, we love him so much.  Everyone has pulled together to try and help him, he has the biggest heart of any animal I've ever met, and it makes us all happy he is feeling better.

Thank you for sticking with this very long PHFR, to see all the link ups or to link up yourself please visit Like Mother Like Daughter for this weeks PHFR.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016


Banana Pudding

I apologize to Instagram for taking sooo long to share this recipe.  I had to figure out drop-box (thank you for suggesting I try it out Natalie)  and well, I have completely fallen out of the habit of blogging, but here it is:

3 cups cold milk
2 small packages vanilla instant pudding mix
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup Fresh whipped whipping cream
16 oz package vanilla wafers
3-4 large bananas

Mix pudding mix with milk until smooth and thickened.  Fold in sweetened condensed milk and whipping cream.  Place a layer of vanilla wafers in 9 x 13 inch pan, add layer of sliced bananas.  Pour pudding mixture over all.  Set vanilla wafers all around the edges as shown in the photo.  Chill before serving.  I have actually made this without the bananas when friends were coming over who disliked them and it was still delicious!

#Nourish365 is a hashtag I've created for myself to get back into the swing of regularly preparing breakfast.  I have never stopped dinners, and lunches have generally been pretty laid back since everyone is now over the age of 8.  Breakfast got away from me last year as I entered the workforce, dinner got to be less often than I'd like if I'm being honest.  I plan to create photos and recipes, share them here and on Instagram and add recipes too.  It is sort of 'what we ate this week' way to keep me motivated.  The idea was born over my realization that breakfast had become a problem, but I won't just stick with breakfast sharing.  Everyone who wants to join in is welcome to!  I might even create a link up if I think there is enough interest, I'm always looking for new ideas and love seeing what other families are enjoying at meal time.  Cheers to family meals!

Dog Days of Summer


I'm unsure if the video works but this is a very big deal.  Benjamin has absolutely no fear, so going off the diving board has been 'off limits' because I'm the one with fear.  I caught him doing it anyway, and realized that in this instance I needed to reconsider the direction I was taking.  So we worked out some 'rules'.  He struggles with an awareness of others.  For example, at dinner in his mind there is only one conversation - the one he wants to have.  When selecting a movie, there is only one choice - his.  When there is a line to stand in, he disregards unless we reroute him quickly.  He just has zero awareness of others - everything is from a Ben's world view.  His teachers and Doctors have really helped us with strategies to 'make him better aware'.  Okay, so I said all that to help you understand why this video is important to me (and I do hope it is working).  Ben begged me to make wevideo (Ben word) of him going off the diving board.  I agreed, but when I caught him checking with the lifeguard if he could go I was SOOO proud of him.  The lifeguards had worked with him about 'when' to jump, like  how it isn't okay to jump right after the last diver due to the likelyhood of crashing together, or jumping on top of someone else.  They also let him know when he needed to take a break from jumping off because #they needed a break'. Often he stands on the end of the board for several minutes as he considers his jump.  He listens to them too, doesn't throw a tantrum.  This pool pass, it has been important in ways other than just letting the kids have fun! 

This is the year a pool pass was a reality.  Ben was finally at a point where I knew he would be okay without me right next to him.  His need for independence makes that hard on both of us, but his lack of an awareness of danger made going to the town pool too overwhelming for me to even consider.  

Water does something for all of us.  When I had lots of little boys under the age of 8, I used to fill up every pitcher and drag out every piece of Tupperware and then add random food coloring to them.  The boys would splash and play forever outside just pouring and mixing those concoctions.  It saved me during long, hot Summer days while Pete was working long hours and we lived thousands of miles away from family.  Even now when someone is especially out of sorts I'll recommend taking a hot shower or long bath to 'cool' off - and it always works.  So the pool, well it is all of that and more.  The younger kids play hard while we are there, they always find a friend or make a friend and the result is that each evening I've got hungry exhausted kids with the sort of calm about them that comes from a day well spent.  

The only way to make the town pool more wonderful, is to add a cousin visiting from out of town.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy 4th of July

Our family from Austin came in to visit this 4th of July and we soaked up as much time as we could enjoying their company.  The kids all buddied up, cousin time is just the best kind of fun!  

One of Pete's brothers has a nice lot of land just outside the city line, close enough to get there easily but far enough to enjoy fireworks.  It was really nice to gather out there, visit and watch the kids get excited about the fireworks and S'mores to come (even though there are some children you have to watch vigilantly due to their lack of a sense of danger and despair from loud noises) we still managed to have a memorable time.

Here we are all the sister-n-laws together.  I am so glad we have this picture, I also have one of just the wives with our in-laws which I cannot manage to get to upload, I'll share it later.  We love each other and them very much, we each feel it is a gift to be a part of this wonderful family. *update*  Finally got it to work, I love them so much and feel blessed to live so near them now.

Campfire S'mores.  The thing Benjamin and Linus were anticipating as much as fireworks and I honestly FORGOT to get the supplies so I was very relieved an Uncle had brought everything and Grandma remembered the marshmallows we left at her house.  We did remember the roasting sticks though so that is something.  

Samwise is not a fan of the fireworks and excitement.  The poor guy is not afraid so much as worried to death about the kids.  I swear he has more anxiety over them than I do.  One of the many reasons I love him so much.

Just a glimpse at 4th's from the past few years and some of the fun we had.  I hope each of you have a very Blessed 4th and enjoy time with your family as we celebrate our Great Country. 
 America, Land of the Free, Home of the Brave.

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