Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Away in a Manger

We had our annual Hanging of the Green service Sunday night. It was truly beautiful and I wish I had gotten better pics of it. It was difficult in the low light and I had little opportunity because I was helping direct children. I will take some pics of the church with the lights up and post them later. I did capture the children singing on video, though. Just before they sang, they proceeded into the sanctuary, some carrying nativity figures to put in place. Wesley didn't have a piece and he got upset and decided he would not get up and sing. (He didn't cry, just pouted and sat down on the pew.) So, that is why he is not up there. Graham is in the very middle. He is one of about 3-4 actually doing the hand motions. I tell you this because as you will see there are a couple of kids on the left end who tend to be a bit more lively...LOL. Just precious! Enjoy!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Tuckered Out Little Elf

I had hoped by today to have our house completely in order so that we could go get our tree and start decorating for Christmas. It didn't happen. So, today we all spent the day finishing up cleaning and we are going to go Monday after school to get the tree and spend Monday night decorating it. We are going to go ahead and put out all the other stuff tomorrow afternoon. It worked out because we are such big college football fans in our household that we didn't want to miss the SEC Championship or the Big 12 Championship and this way we didn't have to do so.

As I was taking a break this afternoon, I noticed that I didn't here Wesley. I asked Graham if he was taking a nap, but he told me no, he wasn't. Not a minute later, Richard asked me to come see something in the front of the house. I figured it was Wesley and asked should I get my camera. He nodded affirmatively. So, where was our little elf?

Under our dining room table fast asleep!!! zzzzzzzzzz!!!!!!!!!
Such a cutie pie...my little elf!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Visit to Granbury

Back in October Grandmama and Grandaddy (Richard's parents) came for a visit and stayed the entire week in a time share condo on Granbury Lake. Their first day here was on a Saturday and so we took them to visit the town square in Granbury. We happened unexpectedly upon the town's Fall Celebration and it was really nice! Along with all their cute shops they also had vendors set up all around the courthouse. The weather was perfect and we topped it off with dinner at Babe's Restaurant and icecream at their old fashioned soda fountain shop. Here are some pics. I could kick myself for not getting any of the boys with Grandaddy and Grandmama!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Being Graham

From the time Graham was able to sit up by himself, he has been bopping to any sound with a beat. I so wish that we had a video camera when he was younger to capture some of his moves in those early years. He loves music and moving to music. It is a good thing that his teacher uses music so much in her teaching methods (esp. with reading), because he is flourishing. She told me at our first conference just before the first 6 weeks report cards were sent out that they don't like to give out E's (for excellent) on the first card because they want there to be room for improvement. Well, on his first card he DID have 1 E for excellent - it was in Music.

This video shows a glimpse of him...being Graham! It is in the outdoor waiting area of Babe's Restaurant in Granbury. We visited there a couple of weeks ago when Richard's parents were in town. I will post more pics from that day next time. Meanwhile, enjoy Graham and all that entails.

P.S. I'm not sure if I will post on YouTube, but the joy I get from him is worth far more than any prize I could make off him!

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Proud Moment

He can pass . . .

And he can run . . . the ball!

I'm a proud mom this morning! Justus had the opportunity to show what he is made of last night. Due to some incidents on the Varsity team, the JV's starting Quarter Back was pulled up to Varsity this week to back up their starting QB. (I hate this for Nic, because he is such a good kid and unless Keaton (Varsity QB starter) gets hurt, most probably Nic won't see near the playing time he has on the JV squad - and this was not a situation of injury, but of foolishness on the part of the Varsity backup QB's. Nic has been a great leader to this JV team! We will miss him.) So, with all of this going down, you might suspect that nerves might be jolted a bit last night with Justus' first start at JV QB and with the fact that there is no backup to him. Talk about pressure! But my kid took that pressure and turned every bit of it into a marvelous show of leadership and toughness! He is an outstanding athlete! He's already a starting Running Back, a Kick-off Return Receiver, a Defensive Safety and he did a great job as Punter in a game in which our starting Punter was injured. And, he has a strong arm as evidenced in his being the starting QB on his 8th grade team in Ft Worth. He also is tough both physically and mentally. (Hardheaded is the technical term!) He is a COMPETITOR in every way! With all of this under his belt, he still has never once started as QB here in Hamilton. And, he has been OK with this because he knows the importance of being a team player even when his own dreams and aspirations have to be put on hold. For this I am a proud mom, but last night, I was impressed by something more from this great kid. . . his ability to be a TEAM LEADER! He took control from the very beginning and never looked back, even with a rocky start (His first pass was almost intercepted). He played so tough and so did his team! Our defense played phenominally! In fact,both teams played tenacious defense as is obvious by the score. . . 8-0. . . not many points at all. Also, in the first half, our team had the ball at the goal line twice and both times were denied entry into the endzone. (The second time was due to the most beautiful long pass by Justus I've ever seen him throw and was caught by the intended receiver about 6 yards shy of the goal line where he stepped out of bounds and then we ran out of time just before the half.) But with these two close calls in the first half, our team did not lay down. They came out in the second half and played almost flawlessly! Our TEAM did a great job as did their leader,Justus, who came in and stood in the gap!
Now, for the stats of the game. . .at least the ones that pertain to this mom's kid: Justus playing on defense had a beautiful interception. On offense he only had one turnover...a fumble when he was running the ball, but our defense again came out and held the other team. He had some beautiful passes, a couple dropped, but some were really beautifully caught for major gains. He also had some great QB keepers that he ran for and made good forward gains. And, to top it all off, he passed for the winning touchdown and then ran in on a QB keeper for the 2 extra points to lead the Hamilton Bulldogs to a very exciting victorious 8-0 win over the McGregor Bulldogs! (One other sidenote: This team beat up on us last year with a devastating huge defeat. So, this was SWEET V-I-C-T-O-R-Y! ) Our team played a great game on both sides of the ball with the kind of toughness we've not really seen all year! Mainly because that's how it should be... improve with every game, with every week get stronger! I am proud of them all, but of course as a mom, my proudest moment came in seeing my oldest son with head held high go in there and lead his team to victory! Justus, you know that we often spar over issues that deal with your attitude, but last night, your attitude SHINED! I am very proud of YOU!

(P.S. I have not figured out how to use my camera under the stadium lights, as of yet, and I'm very mad, I didn't think about trying the video...so the pics above are actually from last season - sorry! I am commiting myself to reading my camera manual before next week!!!)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fall - the Season for Food!

Ground beef stuffing mix for cabbage rolls

Cabbage leaf ready to be stuffed

Stuffed cabbage roll

Placed rolls in casserole - I have enough to fill a large casserole dish and a small one.

Cabbage rolls with tomato soup sauce just out of the oven

Stew meat and onion about to be browned

Vegetable Beef Soup ingredients to add to meat and onion

Here's a spoonful...Mmmm!

Perfect with a pan of homemade cornbread!

I don't know about y'all, but every fall when the temperatures begin to cool down, I get the "Cooking" bug. My family loves it, because they are sure to come home daily and find something brewing on the stove or in the oven to a most heavenly aroma! With the cooler temps, I can swing open the back door in the kitchen and the front door to create a wonderful flow of cool breezes through my galley kitchen. It makes for a delightful experience, not feeling the heat from the stove. In every house we've lived in, though, I must say that fall is the time of year that I most enjoy cooking. Thanksgiving has always been, (even before I was married), my very favorite holiday! I have fond memories of waking to the aromas of my mom saute'ing chopped onions, bellpepper and celery for her cornbread dressing and to the smells of homemade pumpkin pie baking in her oven...Mmmmm! With all of this in mind, I decided to write this post and take some pictures of a couple of my most recent indulgences!

The first are pics of my cabbage rolls, which I must admit were not as good as they usually are because I forgot that instead of following my recipe's directions, you SHOULD DEFINITELY cook the rice first, making sure not to over cook it. You don't want the rice to be mushy! However, in my case of mixing it in raw, the rice was crunchy - another unacceptable outcome. When done, right, though this dish is wonderful! My family doesn't like cabbage, but likes it in this dish. (I actually first ate cabbage rolls in a Lebanese restaurant and I was hooked!)

The next pics are of my homemade vegetable beef soup. I make it 2 ways - one using ground beef and the other (the way seen here) with stew beef that you can find already cut up for you in the grocery. I always sprinkle the beef cuts with meat tenderizer and then brown them with chopped onion before adding all of the other ingredients. I took a pic of the ingredients I use, but I forgot to put the package of frozen okra in the shot (okra is optional). I also used beef stock that I made using beef bouillion cubes instead of canned beef stock this time, but I liked the outcome better because I didn't have to add any salt to the soup at all. If you would like the recipes for either, let me know and I can email them to you...both are very simple!

Simple...these are the pleasures near to my heart! Good food, family, friends and fall! Thank you, Lord! "You thrill me, Lord, with all You have done for me! I sing for joy because of what You have done!" Psalm 92:4

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Colorfully Sweet

I'm not sure how I missed posting these pics back in the summer. I took them on a Sunday afternoon after we returned home from eating out at one of our favorite places here in Hamilton. We actually went with Richard's parents while they were visiting. It is a place called Dutchman's Hidden Valley. We usually just call it the Dutchman for short. They have a gift shop, an antique store, a wonderful deli with homemade german style cheeses and meats, and a homemade oldfashioned candy shop. They of course make homemade chocolate confections as well as homemade hard candy. They even have a place where you can watch them make it in the back. We always have a lot of fun when we go; it is out from town a bit, but not too far. We love the family who own and operate it - the Chorenziaks. Kara (the wife/mom) is the daughter of one of our church members, Mrs. Naomi, and Justus is friends with their son, Ben. They are a sweet family in more ways than one!

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Beautiful Sunset

One of mine and Richard's favorite things about living in Texas is the beautiful sunsets! There is nothing like the landscape sillouettes created by a Texas sunset. I can see how the ironsmith artists who create such works of art are inspired to do so. I have missed some beautiful sunsets on my camera lately because I haven't had it with me. But, about 2 weeks ago, we had the opportunity to picnic with our new association that our church is joining over at a park on Lake Belton, near Temple. I caught these shots as we were leaving. The one with the lake in it I took riding in the van over the dam. It is a beautiful pic, but honestly it does not come close to how beautiful it was in person! I hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Adventures in Life with Boys

My Super heroes

Fun with stickers!

My very cool teenager!

My sleeping hero

Going to the Game (Justus' football)

Never sleep "unarmed"!

The "Manly Table" centerpiece

When pregnant with my 3rd child I was asked if I was ready for a girl, because of the fact that I already had 2 boys. My response was always, "I'm not sure at this point I would even know what to do with a girl!" Well, SO true is that statement today! My boys are 100% boys! While at a picnic, Sunday afternoon with our church, I saw Wesley picking up a rock about a foot in diameter. I asked him what he was looking at, (under the rock), and he replied, "Bugs!" Just common old bugs get his juices flowing. They also love playing with balls - all kinds, especially Justus! (Speaking of bugs he has had a stomach bug the last couple of days, so please pray for him - for all of us!) And, they have a SUPER-sized affinity for Super Heroes! I'm surprised my dish towels and pillowcases even know what they are really supposed to be used for, because they are used much more often as the newest cape for my "caped crusaders". I never know who they will liken themselves to on any given day - Superman, Batman, Spiderman (nocape, just a mask and "SPPPPHT!" noise accompanying their hands formed in Spidey's wellknown web-slinging stance! Someone once thought they were making the "Hook 'em Horns" signal.), sword wielding Bibleman and Luke Skywalker with his sidekick "Okyban Wenobi" (this is Graham's pronunciation), or Buzz Lightyear and Woody! Even though Justus is wayyyyy to cooooool to get in on this super hero phenomenon being played out, he does don his green Marvel tee to school and will stop to watch any Star Wars flick at anytime he sees that it is playing on t.v. So you can see why at this point there would be no room for pink ponies or princesses (unless they are being rescued), or strawberry shortcake in this household! We are definitely male dominated! So this brings me to my reason for making this post. I have placed several pics here of my boys being their boy selves and the last one says it all! In my attempt to make our house a home, attempting to add my more feminine touches, such as a basket of fruit to match my dishes in the dining room, I find this...a pair of pliers added to the basket in just the right striking pose as if to say, "It just needed a man's touch!" Undoubtedly, a little man, huh, Wesley! LOL, I love my little men and I am so glad they are such "BOYS!" My life is full of joy because of them and my heart overflows with love for them! Thank you, Lord, for the gift of my Boys! May they grow to be Men who bring delight to Your Heart, O God!!!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Vacation 2008 - Natural Beauty

Finally, I'm at the end of my posting about our vacation in July. These last pics are ones I took of the beautiful nature I observed while on vacation. I took most of them in the Harvey's back yard which is really beautiful and somewhat tropical - at least the banana plants give it that feel. The pond, which they built themselves, is lined with flat stones from President Bush's Crawford ranch. They were given to the Harveys by a couple in our church, Harvey and Laura Howard, but I'm not sure exactly how they aquired them. It is a very tranquil place with life all a buzz - birds feeding from their feeders, bees and butterflies flitting from flower to flower, and the "singing" of the water in the pond. The only drawback is that the mosqitos are pretty bad no matter what part of the day you go out. They have lots of windows, though, to enjoy the view from the "safety" of the indoors! I couldn't post nature pics without ones of the beach, too. It's just too close to my heart! God's creation truly is THE most beautiful work of art!
"O Lord, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all. The earth is full of Your possessions..." Psalm 104:24

Thursday, September 11, 2008

So Far and Yet So Far to Go!

This seems to be the story of my life right now. First of all Richard started back to school this week. He is driving me crazy! One minute it's one plan and then another! I'm all for going as far as he desires to go with his education, I would just like a plan and to stick to that plan! (OK, I'm venting and I know that with God sometimes there can only be enough light for the next step!) I really am just going to put it in the Lord's hands and let Him and Richard work it out! I'll do my part, but I'm not going to worry about grades, papers, deadlines, etc. He is a big boy, right?

Now, for the second part to this story. WESLEY! I love the little guy...so full of energy and happiness...singing and playing (until Graham gets home). Anyway, he has been doing so well with potty training the past few days. I finally decided to put him in underwear and he has done so great! I just bragged on him last night to Richard about how he didn't have any accidents yesterday and he went without me having to ask him all day long! That was yesterday! Today arrives and we have had two big accidents already! I found one of the spots on the floor in his room, but I have yet to find the other...still searching! I look like a blood hound sniffing around my floors and furniture! LOL Like my friend Cameron says, in the midst of craziness you just have to laugh! So, y'all go ahead and laugh for me, OK! :)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Cowboys, Queens, and Superman!

This past Saturday, Aug. 30th, was our town's biggest event of the year, the Hamilton County Dove Festival 2008. According to our paper it was one of the largest ever with over 80 vendors and over 5,000 in attendance. It is always held in conjunction with the opening of Dove hunting Season and there are several events that take place over the weekend. There's a 2-day rodeo out at the Circle-T, a softball tournament, a 5-K run, a parade and vendors set up all around the town square selling goods & food; promoting causes & candidates. There's also a stage set up with a variety of entertainment.
Our church had a booth to give away water and Capri Suns and to give out info. on our new children's ministry event for the school year. So, the boys and I set out to get there in time to see the parade and to work the booth for a while. We also ate BBQ and funnel cakes, rode the Superman slide, and watched a puppet show and "Wild West Shootout". It was a jam-packed day of quite varied Texas excitement, as I hope you gather from the slideshow I've compiled. We love our little town and our life here! God is Good!!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Justus' 1st Game

Justus had his first game of the season last Thursday. He is on the Hamilton High School J.V. team and wears the #8. He is a backup Q.B., but starts at Running Back and also plays defense. He has heard talk of being moved up to varsity as a running back by the time district play gets here in a couple of weeks. We'll see! As a mama, I REALLY like him being on J.V. - smaller players equals less pain for him, but I want him to be happy and be the best he can be. I think it would be an honor to him to be on Varsity and it would help him to not be so disappointed about not playing Q.B. Anyhoo, we had fun at his first game! They won 26-0 and Justus did score a touchdown and also ran in for 2. Go Bulldogs!