Thursday, April 30, 2009

TAKS, Part Deaux

In continuing with the TAKS saga,  I thought I'd let everyone know we have conquered the beast. Yep, you read that right. Miss Thang took the math portion of the state's standard test and came home proclaiming 'it was easy!' 

After looking around to make sure I wasn't hearing another child say that as opposed to mine, I can confirm that Tay did indeed think the exam was much easier than she'd anticipated. Don't get me wrong - we did have our fair share of drama the week before the culminated with my child breaking down and sobbing for an hour that there was just "no way" she'd pass "that stupid test."

It appears a few comments had been made by her teacher that were a bit of a scare tactic. Perhaps this is where I should mention that my child doesn't respond well to that type of motivation. She really needs more support and cheerleading. 

Insert mom, a wild 'Taylor can do anything' cheer done by dancing strawberries and lots of puppy sugar and MANY prayers...after a week of that, she reported that she'd had a "power boost" and was up to 100% confidence and double checking skills (something we've struggled with all year) before entering school on Tuesday.


That's all I have to say.

I truly cannot tell you how happy I am to have this behind us. My grandmother used to teach school and contends that third grade is the hardest transition of all. I wholeheartedly believe her and am praying next year will be a bit more smooth.

Please, God.  Pretty please?

Anyway, here's the photographic evidence that Miss Thang is back to acting like herself.

Again, thank you, Lord.

Miss Thang headed out to school and then celebrating afterward.

As you can see, the puppy posse was greatly worried about this test as well. They appear pretty stoic but I'm absolutely certain they were trembling with fear on the inside. As you can see, Bo was so worn out by the end of the evening that he could no longer hold his head up. That happens every evening but I'm quite sure this time it was all because of TAKS. :-)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Just a Posin'

When we visited Maw Maw's house for Easter, she gave Tay TONS of clothes that she's been enjoying wearing out and about a great deal. After church on Sunday, we decided to have an impromptu photo shoot because she was wearing one of said cute outfits.

One thing you must know about Taylor is that she does not really enjoy taking pictures. Well, she does enjoy taking them of other people but not so much when it comes to posing for them. Lo and behold, that was not the case on Sunday, though!

Case in point...

At this point, I'm wondering who this child is and why she hijacked the body of my precious, photogenic but not easily convinced 9-year-old... Seriously, if you'd been with us during Christmas pictures in the studio, you would understand my quandry. She then proceeded to continue this type of behavior for several more minutes. Being the seizer of opportunity I am, I snapped as quickly as my Kodak would allow!

The puppies had to make a mid-shoot entrance. Let me tell you, it was quite the entrance too. I love this picture because this is a scene I see several times a day each and every day. She loves these four-legged humans (at least that's what she thinks) like nothing I've ever seen.

Monday, April 27, 2009

March for Babies

This weekend Miss Tay and I were on our own as it was Davey's weekend to work in the NICU. We affectionately refer to these as our girls' weekends and always have tons of fun. This one was certainly no exception but we added a new dimension and it was also productive. Crazy, right?

The first thing we did on Friday afternoon was to ban the use of words such as 'school,' 'TAKS,' 'test,' and anything school 's-word' related. My thought is that Miss Thang just needed to chill out and relax before taking the math portion of the TAKS tomorrow. She's been so wound up that the poor child literally could not think straight so this was a well-needed respite.

Saturday morning, we headed out to Hillcrest for the March for Babies. Seeing as Dave works with tiny babies each and every day, this is one cause that's close to our heart. We truly don't have a lot of causes because I get too overwhelmed with wanting to do everything for everyone. Knowing this about myself, we're limited - for the most part - to Susan G. Komen (in honor of Brandi), March of Dimes and Fuzzy Friends Animal Rescue. We'll be adding Compassion Ministries to that soon but I don't anticipate the number growing out of control...

Anyway, Tay and I had a good time. Not a great time. But a good time. Let's just say the little one was more excited about participating and walking over three miles BEFORE we got there. Once there, not so much. We did get in 2.5 out of the 3 laps, though, and then headed over to the NICU to see Davey. One of the little ones they're taking care of right now has a grandpa who works for Blue Bell. Needless to say, they're stocked with creamy treats right now so Tay's highlight of the morning was an...wait for cream sandwich.

I forgot my camera but did sneak in a few pics with my phone...we had a much better photo shoot yesterday and I'll share those tomorrow...forgot to download them last night...was too busy being productive (aka cleaning out the garage)...

Cheesing it up...I love this pic...she hates it...go figure
You want me to do what?
When will this thing start?
Guess I'll just have to eat a snow cone until the show gets on the road...

See that giant fountain? There are TWO of them in the lake we were to walk around. Couple those tall sprays of water with 20 mph winds and what do you get? A bunch of muddy, slippery sidewalks and one walker (aka ME) whose curly hair goes NUTS!!!

Friday, April 24, 2009

New Addition to Our Family (not what you're thinking)

When I awoke this morning, I had absolutely no idea what I was going to post about today. We all know I simply can't close out the week without blogging so it looked for a while we were going to focus on me whining about yet another TAKS test debacle (trust me, that one would go on for days it it reached a climax when my 9-year-old broke out in a SOB worried about whether or not she was going to pass the math portion...) or the fact that I'm bemoaning the fact that my hair simply doesn't have a 'casual' mode (all curly goodness all the time...all styles requiring major effort and planning).

You are in luck today, my friends, because the Lord divinely placed the wonderful graphic you see above on Boomama's blog and I was immediately convicted. You see, I've been mulling over using some of the funds I'm saving on a monthly basis by firing my housekeeper (also another long, sad story) to sponsor a child through Compassion Ministries. I recently read Melissa's post on the LPM blog and she left today to travel to India. While she's there, she'll be meeting the children she sponsors. How awesome would that be?

So I immediately jumped over to the Compassion site and began soaking of information. Did you know it only costs $32 per month to sponsor one of these precious children? This money provides them with food, medical care, and they learn about Jesus as well - among other things. Now, I ask you, how many of us can't spare $32 per month?

When I did my search, I looked for the child who had been waiting the longest for sponsorship...looks like we'll be the extended family of an 11-year-old little boy shortly...

And that, I think, is a fine way to wrap up the week!

Without any whining.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Team Brandi

Yesterday I was home with the little one who was suffering from a 24-hour virus and I pondered writing this post all day long. But never got to it. Why? Because I'm just angry about the whole situation. You're probably asking 'what situation?' 

Well, let's rewind about three years...

Dave and I have some good friends, Tim and Brandi Shelton, who we hung out with a great deal when we lived in Belton. Our girls are 2 weeks apart and went to the same daycare. They ADORE each other. Dave and Tim went to college together and have always maintained a friendship. (Well, until we moved to Waco but, thank God, that's all been rectified now.)

Anyway, three years ago Brandi - at age 34 - was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a double mastectomy, found that it was already in all of the lymph nodes, and followed up with chemo and radiation. She went through he** and back, from what I understand, but was then given a clean bill of health.

Until December of last year, that is...

Now Brandi is 37. She has three children - ages 14, 9 and 6. She has a husband who adores her. She has more friends than I've ever seen any one person keep close ties with. She has an extended family who love her to pieces. 

And she has cancer. Again. It is in her bones. In multiple places.

So Tim called Dave and invited him to a benefit held in Brandi's honor last Saturday night. Brandi has seen doctors at Scott & White in Temple but hasn't been given many options for treatment. Or much hope, from what I heard that night. She wanted a second opinion (who wouldn't?) at MD Anderson in Houston and this event as to raise funds to make that happen. Her friends rallied and surpassed their fundraising goal. She will, indeed, be able to get that second opinion. Hopefully soon.

We, of course, attended and were able to catch up with lots of old friends. It's amazing that no matter how much things change, they remain the same. We are absolutely heartsick at this turn of events. Having a daughter the same age that Brandi does, I cannot fathom being in her position. And I an in awe at her strength.

She has spunk. She has God. She has support. She has a lot of fight left in her. And, I pray, she still has many more years on this Earth.

Please pray for this family and, if you'd like to know more about them click here.

Tim & Brandi
Dave, Gloria (Tim's mom), Tim and Mike
Mike, Lori & Dave
Mindi & David
Mike & Dave
Mindi & Baby Ryan

Friday, April 17, 2009

On the Road Again

On Monday morning, Maw Maw treated us to breakfast at Cracker Barrel. It was absolutely delicious and I couldn't resist getting a pic of Nana, Maw Maw and Tay in this special edition Dolly Parton rocking chair.

And this concludes our regularly scheduled programming. Will resume again next week after weekend pictures have been taken.

By the way, one of the things we're doing (just found out this morning) over the weekend is attending a benefit for a good friend of ours, Brandi Shelton. When we lived in Belton, their daughter - Gracie - was Tay's best friend. Dave and Tim went to college together as well so they hold a special place in our heart. 

Brandi was diagnosed with breast cancer about 3 years ago and we just found out it has returned. It is in her bones. In multiple places. Please pray for this precious couple and their kids (Cody, 14, Gracie, 9, and Brady, 6). And visit if you'd like to see pictures of the family you're praying for.

Resurrection Sunday

Ok, I'm working my way through the pictures and you'll be happy to know we've reached the end of our photographic journey through Easter. My grandmother's pastor called it Resurrection Sunday and I loved that sentiment so I've adopted it for my very own now...but at least I'm giving credit where it's due, right?

So Sunday morning we woke up and the Easter Bunny had indeed hopped through backwoods Louisiana. Funny thing - he resorted to his old ways (ie when I was a kid and lived there) by stealing the baskets strawberries come in from the farm and filling them with all manner of candy eggs. Then he hid them all over the house so Tay could have a little scavenger hunt. The only thing she really wanted was a new alarm clock (specifically, one with a snooze button) and, as you see in the photos, EB came through. She's really enjoyed using this week - perhaps a little too much :-)

After enjoying an Easter cantata and mini-sermon by Brother Boyd, we returned home and decided a few four generation picture was needed. (Side Note: can I just tell you how much one was needed? In the old one, everyone looked great except for me. It was awful...but I've obviously lived to tell about it.)

We had a yummy lunch, got Boppy and Muffin on the road back to Texas and then enjoyed an indoor Easter egg hunt. It was rather stormy by this time so outside was definitely out of the question.

Tay absolutely loved this egg - it was her favorite so I was instructed to photograph it. And then post it to her site. Giant check on the 'to do' list.

Oh yeah, and because we all know Miss Tay adores any and every animal, I thought I'd share these pics of Bailey...

These were absolutely the cutest Easter chocolates I'd ever seen so I, of course, must share them with my online buddies.

In Which I Ramble...

Continuing with the recap of our trip to Louisiana, we'll conquer our Saturday activities. We began with a little yardwork to help Maw Maw out and I couldn't resist taking some pics of the woods and her house. I've never had photos of that and, although it makes me homesick, it's nice to be able to look at it when i want...

Uncle Arthur came over (that's his house you see across the road in the above pic) and gave Miss Thang a ride on his new toy...a mule!

Moving on...

After working in the yard, we decided to go out for a late lunch and have some yummy seafood at Charlie's. Here are Maw Maw, Tay and Bailey all ready to, Bailey didn't go with... :-)

Our evening concluded with a little Easter egg dying fun. Well, actually, a LOT of egg fun as we had almost two dozen of them to do...we also had coffee with Aunt Yvonne and Uncle Buzzard (Lee Alton) but I forgot to take pics...