Fall Festival

The two cutest Trunk-or-Treat babies I know!!
I can still put it all on. Nevermind that I'm slightly fatter and lots grayer...my God, when did I get old?
Not too bad for doing it myself in the mirror with no glasses on! I can't say the web on my neck turned out as aesthetically pleasing.

Tonight was Trunk-or-Treat at the YMCA in Waxahachie. Vendors got to come and decorate trunks for the kids to trick-or-treat at. Of course, mine was all Pampered Chef. I passed out a lot of cards, so hopefully I get some calls soon. GraceAnne had a blast, but Violet was less than enthused to be in her Hunny Pot costume.

Speaking of Violet, today was her 6 month check up. She is 16lb 13.5oz and 27 1/4" long. That's 75th percentile for her weight and 90th percentile for her height. She's gonna be lanky just like her sister! I looked up GraceAnne's stats at the same age and she was 18lb 3oz and 27" long. Vi's been trying to crawl and usually ends up going backwards thanks to the hardwood floors. Who told these kids they could grow up so fast? Oh, yeah--that would have been my husband...oh so eager to have it be just us. :)


Punkin Pictures

I always forget that these load backwards and then load them in chronological order and they come in wrong--of course. Oh well, I'm too pressed for time to change it. You were promised punkin pictures, so punkin pictures I posted!
I always have to make a stupid pumpkin. Last year I made a mooning butt pumpkin and mine was the ONLY one NOT stolen! How lame. This year my guy is upside down, representing the all kinds of crazy I am. Uhh...you are. Yeah, how crazy YOU are!
Allan likes to do artistic pumpkins and they always come out very basic, but pretty cool. He can't be bothered with the kids' pumpkins, (GraceAnne is so fickle about her design and then it looks like, well--like a 4-year-old designed it), so he picked seeds from the guts so I could bake them later. They turned out AWESOME, too!
Violet's was actually a pie-pumpkin, so it was very thick fleshed. I like the eyelashes and GraceAnne liked them so much she added some onto hers with the marker after I was done.
Here is GraceAnne designing her punkin. You can see the end result above. I do my best to stick to the exact lines she makes.

Carving pumpkins this year was pretty awesome. It was chilly out so we all got to wear sweatshirts and it felt like it was actually pumpkin carving time! It was dark in time to light them on the porch and we were all in awe of the glow from the very different faces. Then we blew them out, turned them around, (lest someone steal Allans, GraceAnne's and Violet's and leave mine, thus making me doubt my artistic skills), and went in the house to bake our seeds.

Hope you all are having just as wonderful a time this fall!


Oh, and Look at Our New Pritties! :D

Stainless Steel beauty #1! My gorgeous new-to-me stove!
Stainless Steel beauty #2. My gorgeous BRAND new dishwasher!

How cool is this? They are BOTH GE. They both work FABULOUSLY and they're both GORGEOUS! Yeah, we're cool. Now to figure out how to paint the fridge stainless look....hmmmm....

Please, um, excuse the mess. My house is under construction. Yeah, construction! That's what's wrong with it! ;)

And So it Begins...

Too cute to not share.

Today was day 1 of work. The ac guy came and started putting in the duct work. He can't finish until the plumbers and electricians do their things, (drain in the attic and an outlet to plug the unit into), but he was here for about 3 hours this morning doing this:
Can you see the hole in our lovely "rustic" ceiling? It's there, I promise.
Here's the vent in the bedroom formerly called Rhiya's. We're not sure if it will be our new room or Vi's yet.
There's the return vent and the duct for the hallway. That means no dashing between rooms and freezing our patooties off! WOOT!
Yes, I am aware that I have the world's cheesiest smile and I'm chill with that.

There's a lot of dust up here now, (the first of much, would be my guess!), but HOW EXCITING! We have a SUPER busy few days ahead of us, (trick or treat, trunk or treat, 6 mo check up for Vi, etc. etc.), and then on Monday the plumber and electrician come. WOOHOO!!

Over and Out.


Ready for the Month to be Over

I'm getting tired. Next month will be worse and the month of December even moreso, but I'm about done with October. I love October, as outlined in earlier blogs, but I really want November to get here. This marks the start of my sell-a-thon for Pampered Chef, (stoneware is 20% off, so get it in Nov!), and the start of the construction, (they said the 3rd, YAY!), and Thanksgiving, (where will we have that?? I insist on cooking, but the house should be all torn up, so who knows where we will have it...), and getting ready for Christmas. I don't think we'll decorate much this year since everything will be in an uproar, but we haven't done ANY shopping. Usually I'm done by now, so this should be interesting. My only saving grace is that we're only buying the kids 3 gifts each. Like Jesus got. Calm down, people; they have grandparents buying for them and a million toys each and they'll be 3 good gifts. I just want to make sure we celebrate the reason for the holiday and not worship the commercialization of birth the single greatest miracle known to man. I think the reason people hate the holidays is because they feel obligated to people. I want to enjoy the holiday because I feel glad to GIVE. Give of my time, my joy and the money I can afford to give without stressing myself out. Allan feels the same way. His idea of a great Christmas activity is getting together with family to polish silver and make spiced oranges. Ummm...I'm not this basic, but I can see what he means.

I'll have more pictures later in the week. We have to carve our pumpkins, trick-or-treat and do trunk-or-treat. Is it wrong of me to be secretly singing Christmas carols as I walk around downtown with all the halloween decor? Shhhh, it'll be our secret ;)


Home for Christmas!

First of all, let's celebrate my 100th post. It's been a long hard road, this blogging thing, but well worth it to keep my audience entertained ;) So today is 100 day, boys and girls. Get out your pennies, quarters, dollar bills...glue them to a board and send them to me. I'll send you a little prize for your efforts. :D

Today Morris, Diane, (his wife), Dan and Mark, (his sidekick), came to the house to discuss this project with us. I'm not sure why they included us, because they certainly didn't need to, but I'm awfully glad they did! They talked about getting people paid to get started and told us that we should have a grand amount of CHAOS within 2 weeks. The electrician and plumber will be here first. Then a few days after the electrician gets started the ac guy will come and install our brand new heat/ac unit in the attic. (See?? We WILL have a warm house for Christmas!) The bathroom will be rearranged to better accommodate Allan and the windows will be relpaced/new siding/whatever paint we want on the outside. We are so stinking excited I can't even describe!

The absolute best thing they said to us? "It's going to get hairy and REAL messy around here, but we should be out of your hair by Christmas...how's that for a Christmas present?" Well, it's all I want this year, I'll tell you that! I can't believe how absolutely Blessed we are. We totally don't deserve any of this.

I can't believe that we will be "home for Christmas" in 2 ways...first we're going to WI to see my mom and sisters. Second, our home will be completed, (God willing!), for Christmas, so we'll come back to a beautiful, functional home. I could cry now.

The absolute best thing they did? Morris had the entire room pray. He praised God's perfect timing and he prayed for speed and wisdom on the part of the contractors and a Blessing over our house, family and the repairs. I'm so amazed at his willingness to put this all in God's hands and I pray that I can be more forthcoming with praise as I grow older. I'm so grateful that we have been matched up with a Godly man and it makes me so comfortable to let this project go on as God sees fit instead of trying to take control myself. (me? take control!? NEVER!)

So there you have it. Hopefully we'll see groundbreaking next week or the week after and I'll be whining about how hard it is to run a business out of a home that's completely torn to shreds. YAAAAY! :D


Friday It Is!

Allan's professor told him he could stay home on Friday, so Morris and Dan will be here at 9am. YAY!!!!


Waiting...Patiently This Time

Well, the General Contractor, (Morris), and the funding guy, (Dan), will be here Friday morning. I'm glad of this, because it gives us time to clean the house. I'm also nervous about this because Allan won't be home. He has school all day Thursday and Friday this week. I've met Morris before, so I'm not nervous about him, but I have never met Dan. I am always a little weird about letting strange men into the house. Hopefully he's not so strange and Morris gets here first so I won't be too on edge.

Only 3 days to go!

***UPDATE: I got a call from Morris and he had talked to Allan. They might push the meeting back to early next week so Allan can be here, too. He said they would be opening an account at a bank here in town for the money and that they would start off with the plumbing, electrical and central air so that "if something happens" with the money, (what the heck does that mean???), the most important things are done.

WOOT WOOT for a warm house for the holidays! :D


But My Lips Hurt Real Bad!

It's been a pretty cool week! Mostly we're just still buzzing about the house repairs. I'm sure we will be for a while! Of course I'll update as soon as they come. Today was Fall Festival and I had a Pampered Chef booth. I got 1 booking, 1 recruit lead (the same girl, actually...), lots of names in my bucket to win a free show, $170 in orders and handed out over 200 recipe cards with my contact info. I'd say it was a successful day, but I'm exhausted and my lips are sunburnt. The kids are tired, too. Violet spent most of her day with her Daddy and didn't even get too mad!

Here are some pix of the last week.
Sweet Child O' Mine part deux.
We can do it!
Cozy for camping!
"I'll have the linguine, garcon."




I got an e-mail from Dan Vargas, (guy from Coalition to Salute America's Heroes), and he said he needed our contact information ASAP and a good number to call us at. Surprise, surprise, I just happened to be sitting at my computer when the message came in. So I sent it to him, nervous and excited.

He called about 20 minutes ago and said they were APPROVED for the money!! They'll be here next week!! OMG I'M GONNA PEE MY PANTS!!!!!!!

Thank you all SO VERY MUCH for your prayers, they mean so much and I know God heard everyone of them and today they were answered! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!


Apple Country pt 1

We're back! We had a great time on our apple-picking vacation in Lubbock! I highly suggest everyone who gets a chance goes to that city. There was a lot of neat stuff to do. Lots of history and culture.

Day one of our trip looked like this: Mommy didn't get the car packed up the night before, so we left around 2pm on Friday. We got to Lubbock at 8:30pm and there was no way we were setting up camp in the dark. So we "camped" Holiday Inn style. You can see the girls in the king-sized bed at the hotel with their matching jammies on.

Note to self: When you don't plan well enough and leave 2 hours later than you're supposed to, it might cost you a lot! The camp site would only have been $26, but the room was $111. Oops.
Saturday we got up and ate a continental breakfast. The $70 extra we had to pay for the room was less hurty thanks to the cinnamon rolls and orange juice. Then we headed out to Apple Country Orchards and picked apples. This place was HUGE! There are over 3,000 trees in all different types. They had Arkansas Black, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious and Fuji ripe this weekend. We got Goldens and Fujis for our apple butter.
GraceAnne picking one of our obligatory first 10 apples. The skeeters were SO BAD we couldn't stand to be in the orchard much longer than that. Fortunately they had a petting zoo, gift shop and pumpkin festival going on, so we got to hang out for a while. We got the rest of our bushel of apples at the front from the ones the workers had already picked. They looked better anyway.
There was a lot going on this weekend around Lubbock! Floydada is the self-proclaimed pumpkin capital of the U.S., so there was a street fair and some festival type stuff going on. It was a lot of fun and I'm glad we got to do something else since we spent so little time at the orchard. Anyway, I'll take carnival food where I can get it! We ate corn on the cob, a brisket burrito, shaved ice lemonade and a funnel cake. MMMMMMM!
Aren't they cute? This guy had a field set up with nothing but picture ops between Idalou, (orchard), and Floydada, (festival). It was so cute!

Apple Country pt 2

GraceAnne helped Daddy put up the tent. She was very excited to get in!
They LOVED being in the tent! GraceAnne had a whole half to jump around in because something possessed Allan and I to buy the biggest tent we could find back before we had kids together. She had a great time rolling all over and doing cartwheels. Violet thought it was pretty great, too!
On the road AGAIN?!? We spent the better part of our 3-day vacation in the car. The girls were a little battle-weary by the end, but they were both great sports! GraceAnne told me on the way home, "I want to go camping at a hotel again, sometime, mom. That was so fun!"
Then Daddy got tired of driving and Vi stepped up to the task.
When we got home we started making the sauce for our apple butter right away. GraceAnne washed the apples, and while she watched Sleeping Beauty for the first time ever, Allan managed to squish an entire bushel of apples last night. My wrist hurts so bad, (yes, still and I'm going back to the Dr sometime this week...), that I just couldn't do it. It's a rotary turner-type thing, so it's VERY labor intensive, but Allan got it done in no time! I love my hubby :)


Must be the Meanness

Tonight we went to Dallas for dinner with Allan's classmates. It was nice to get away, though very strange to be around younger people. It was one of the girls' 21st birthday. Naturally, they were drinking and laughing and having a good time. That used to be my life. Not anymore. So it's a little strange to be hanging out with young people, (they are all VERY nice and fun to be around!), and looking at my 2 little young people and wondering how so much changes in 5 short years. Thank God it did, though.

When I was a kid my mom used to say the white spots on my nails was the meanness coming out of me. I knew she was pulling my leg, but I always wondered, since there seemed to be no other explanation. A couple of weeks ago I talked to her about my wrist and how bad it has been hurting and she said, "well, that's all that meanness coming out of your wrist." At some point in time I must have offered this same explanation to GraceAnne for her legs hurting her because tonight on the way home from dinner we were talking about how we change as we get older. (How's that for ironic considering the very thing I was thinking about at dinner!) She said that she is always hungry in the mornings and I said, "most people are." She said, "not Daddy." I said, "well, sometimes things change as we get older." She said SERIOUS AS A HEART ATTACK, "yeah...like my legs hurt, probly cuz the meanness is coming out and cuz I'm growing." I laughed SO hard! She even was justifying herself, because I suppose I made her feel insecure. "But it IS the meanness coming out!"

These little ones tied me down and forced me into a life of servitude, but they are sweet, loving and funny as heck, so I wouldn't have it any other way!


A Bright Spot

Well, this is an answer to prayer and it's also a call for prayer. I just got an e-mail from Dan Vargas, the guy who is working on funding to get our house fixed, (not the contractor, but the head guy from Coalition to Salute America's Heroes), and he said...

"Good Day! Just letting you know that I am in New York next week and should have a final plan to get this all together."

to which I replied...

"Does this mean it was approved and it's time to get excited?? :D"

to which he replied back...

"That means I have a percentage of the money and I am head to NY to ask and get approved the rest for the whole project. I will call you from there with the news."

after which I jumped up and down in my seat and did a little jig! Premature excitement? Possibly, but it has been expedited as we prayed for, and now we'll have an answer next week. That answer could maybe be no, but please pray it is YES! and that we'll have construction crews at our house in a couple of weeks. I could pee my pants right now. Maybe we'll have a totally warm house when it gets cold outside! Maybe I'll actually pee in the warmth this winter instead of holding it as long as possible so as not to sit on a cold potty. YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!

Thank every one of you who has been praying, and hopefully the prayers for this issue will be ceased soon and the praise can begin!


Double Dose of the Country Life

Here is GraceAnne riding English style on Cody. It is apparently the harder style, but the girl who is teaching her has never even ridden Western, so English it is! She did really good and learned how to sit correctly, hold the reins correctly, make the horse go, stop and turn. She had a total blast and we signed her up to do weekly lessons along with a once-a-week trip to the ranch to "volunteer" and groom the horses and learn about them. This fits her personality SO MUCH BETTER than dance classes. She was made for the country life. Her instructor got a big kick out of GraceAnne...as you can see there is no shade in the riding pen, so after about half-hour she said, "it's hot, I need to stop. I remember how to stop the horse, see?" and made Cody stop. We all laughed about that for a while. She's so clever!
Here is GraceAnne at our 2nd country stop this weekend, squeezing the life out of 1 of the 7 kittens she was torturing. We went to the house of some friends from church, (actually, most of our friends from church, as all the relatives live in close proximity on their mother's land), about 7 miles from Ennis in the middle of nowhere. Only in Texas can you be 7 miles out of town and in the middle of nowhere! We had a FANTASTIC time with a fire, weenies and s'mores. It was so great to just sit around and talk to people we only get to talk with briefly once a week. Florence said that we'll do this again this month and we'll have a hayride. YAY!!
Here is cat 2 of 7. They were so nice to her and didn't hardly bite or scratch. At first they struggled to get away, but after a while they just kinda gave up. Everyone asked GraceAnne if she was taking one of her friends home but she just politely declined saying, "No, we can't have a cat until we're done having babies and they're all growed up." Can you tell she's gotten this answer a few times? Specifically we told her that when our last baby is 2 or 3 years old we can get a cat. That way I don't have to change 2 creature's poops at the same time. ;)
Here is GraceAnne and her friend Chaz. She loves Chaz, as she told me this morning at Sunday School. They chase each other around, play house together and talk each others ears off. Chaz is exactly one year younger, as they share a birthday! (note: cat 3 of 7)
Violet was begging for my food. I had made chicken nuggets, peas and corn. Since she's had grits, I figured corn was safe and was squirting the corn out of the cellulose onto my finger and letting her eat it. She LOVED it. She ate more of that than she's eaten of anything, (grits was a close second!), so I guess I just have another case of the "baby hates baby-food" on my hands. GraceAnne was never a fan, either.

After all the country life this weekend I feel totally refreshed. Allan and I have talked about it a lot, and now more than ever we know we want to live out in the sticks. I'd love to be close to town, like Florence and Steven, so that it's not a hassle, but still be out enough to have cows, chickens, cats, rabbits, etc like they do, too. It was so amazing and so fun.

Hope everyone had a great weekend! Love and miss you all!


Prepping for the Main Event

I LOOOOOVE Halloween. Halloween and Easter are my all-time favorite holidays. They are both in the very best seasons and they are both so wonderful in their own ways...Easter is beautiful and reflective and awe-inspiring. Halloween is just plain silly and fun for ANYONE. The key to these 2 being my favorite? What do they have in common? CANDY. I'm not as big a fan of sweets as I used to be, but I do still love candy. I prefer fruity candy over chocolate, but in my old-age I'm starting to love chocolate more and more, too.

I love the month of October, period, really. It's autumn, (in parts of the country other than the one we live in! Ha!), and the leaves are turning colors. There's a crisp feel to the air that is always welcome after the long, hot summer. The leaves smell amazing and even moreso when someone is burning them. The decorations are so vibrant and pretty with the fall reds, oranges and yellows. There are apples to be picked, pumpkin patches to be raided and fun things going on in town all month long.

In response to one of the blogs I follow, I'm going to post about a couple of traditions we celebrate in the month of October. First there's trick-or-treat, OF COURSE! As soon as I got too old to do it myself I had kids and I get to do it again! I love trick-or-treating. I love to see all the cute little costumes and how people decorate their yards...it's so fun. There's also Fall Festival here in town. This will be our 3rd year of Fall Festival and I love carnival food, so that's my favorite part of it, but GraceAnne loves to ride the ponies and paint pumpkins. Actually--I changed my mind. My favorite part of it is watching my kids come to life seeing all the fun things! We also have a tradition of making apple butter from scratch. In WA state this was a lot easier than here, (tell those apple trees to stop discriminating against certain climate zones!), but this year we saved a little money and we're going to Lubbock to pick a bushel of apples at a 3,000 tree farm and we'll get our pumpkins there, too, because they're having a pumpkin fest the weekend we're going. First we make applesauce from the apples and then apple butter from the sauce and it's a LONG, insanely messy process, but OH SO worth it! And then there's Trunk or Treat. I love this, too. Our church puts on Trunk-or-Treat every year and we all decorate our trunks in some sort of theme, (last year we were a sweet shoppe and GraceAnne dressed up like an ice cream cone), and the kids go around and "Trunk-or-Treat" for goodies. There are some very creative trunks and it is SO fun!

Man, I wonder if I could get a few more exclamation points in there?? Can you tell I LOVE OCTOBER?? :)

Oh, and complete with Pooh Bear and the Hunny Pot up there, Allan will be Christopher Robin and I'm not sure what I'll be doing...maybe Eeyore or Rabbit. I thought about Kanga, but my Roo is a Hunny Pot, so....we'll see.


Weekend Report

This is the long and the short...

five points if you can remember what that is from and post to the blog so I don't feel like I'm writing to myself! ;)

Well, Vi is now on her 3rd day of the antibiotics. She's got diarrhea, but she's better than she was. Last night she slept pretty good for the first night in a long time and only woke up twice to eat. It was dreary this morning, so I got to sleep until 9am! I was awakened by the bugman. He came to refill the bait stations, (the rats ate ALL the bait, Lord knows where they crawled off to to die. Thankfully we haven't smelled them!), and check the sticky traps.

We took GraceAnne to the Dr. today. She had a blister in a sensitive area a couple nights ago and I wanted to make sure she didn't have some awful disease. They told me nothing and that basically it was a waste of time to go in because it was nearly healed up. IF she gets another blister and IF I happen to see it in time, we need to take her in so they can lance it and send a culture off. Right...because she's going to let me check her crotch every day. *insert eyeroll here* Not to mention I called them about 50 times yesterday to see if we could get her in while there was still a sore but NO ONE CALLED ME BACK until almost 5pm. I can't get to Corsicana in that amount of time, so it did me no good. I missed the call anyway. *sigh*

Pampered Chef is slowing down, but I'm not worried too much about it this month. October is always a super-busy month for us, (mostly because it's our favorite and there are a million and one fun fall things we want to do, so we stay out a lot), so I'm not going to sweat it. I would like to book a couple of shows, but I'm going to mostly push for November. November is our sell-a-thon and I'll get the free spring products after Jan 1 depending on my sales in November. Plus then I'll get to do the fun baking stuff, (I just got all of my baking accoutrement for free with my PC dollars today!!), like making pies and cookies and using my new decorators and sheet pans, etc.

I'd like to ask for prayers for Allan's grandma, lastly. She's been in the hospital for a couple of days and they can't figure out what's wrong with her, but her friends say she's been "weird" for the last few weeks. When she got to the hospital her pulse was so low they could hardly pick it up on the machines. They made her decide if she'd like to be revived or not, (I have no idea what her answer was), and if anything happens to her we'll be on a quick flight to PA, which means no Christmas trip home, but hey--this is more important. Prayers for her comfort, please.

Well, my chicken strips are beeping and I'm hungry, so I'm going to close this. Love and miss you all!


Great Green Gobs

Well, the green snot has reared its ugly head. Violet got her 2nd dose of antibiotics this morning. She screamed most of last night. That's a strange sound to hear come from our very placid, calm child. It was absolutely awful. She got up 2 times and just stayed up. She could hardly breathe and today came the green snot. Here's hoping she gets well soon.