Thursday, April 30, 2009

Swine Flu / Schmine Flu??

I've just been itching to jump in on the whole Swine Flu discussion.

Here is what I think.

(Drumroll, please.)

I think we should cancel the rest of the school year. I do. I really do. As of tomorrow, TAKS will be over. We're on the downhill slope of the year -- a school year that started off with a hurricane and is ending in a pandemic.

I think it's only a matter of time until a child that goes to Keith is diagnosed with this flu -- but of course that won't happen until all the other children in his / her class are exposed.

I'm not being an alarmist, but I am being a realist. People keep quoting numbers -- X-number of people die of the regular flu every year. That's right. They do. But how many more people would die without the vaccine?

Where Porcine Flue is concerned, there is no vaccine. (Porcine is a Fancy Nancy word for Swine. Of course, Swine is a Fancy Nancy name for Pig. But I digress.)

I'm a FIRM believer in vaccines. The girls and I get a flu shot EVERY year. Biggs, who can't be drug into the pediatrician's office, is on his own and sometimes forgets.

The lack of a vaccine worries me.

So does the lag time involved here. From the time you're exposed, think of the all the time that passes before I know about it. You have to go through incubation, getting sick, getting to a doctor, waiting for the blood test, and then getting that reported.... And then it has to make it to the media. In that time, how many people have you had contact with?

I spend many, many of my days in Kindergarten. Do you have any idea how many times I've been asked to open a cheesestick, only to find out immediately that the child first tried to open it with his teeth? Or how many times someone has sneezed on me? Or how many times I've taken a child's hand only to have it be wet for no apparent reason? Did they lick it??

I really do think we should close our schools for the rest of the year. There are no germier places than schools. If instructional time is such a big deal, send work home with the kids. Taks is over after tomorrow, so what's the big deal anyway?

My friend Kelly just sent me this. While it's the first email I've seen about Pig Flu, I'm sure it's not the only one out there. He raises some valid points:

This is from a Dr. in Wimberley, Texas

Subject: Flu Update from Dr. Gitterle

After I returned from a public health meeting yesterday with community leaders and school officials in Comal County, Heather suggested I send an update to everyone, because what we are hearing privately from the CDC and Health Department is so different from what you are hearing in the media. Some of you know some or maybe all of this, but I will just list what facts I know..

- The virus is infectious for about 2 days prior to symptom onset
- Virus sheds more than 7 days after symptom onset (possibly as long as 9 days) (this is unusual)
- Since it is such a novel (new) virus, there is no "herd immunity," so the "attack rate" is very high. This is the percentage of people who come down with a virus if exposed. Almost everyone who is exposed to this virus will become infected, though not all will be symptomatc. That is much higher than seasonal flu, which averages 10-15%. The "clinical attack rate" may be around 40-50%. This is the number of people who show symptoms. This is a huge number. It is hard to convey the seriousness of this.
- The virulence (deadliness) of this virus is as bad here as in Mexico, and there are folks on ventilators here in the US, right now. This has not been in the media, but a 23 month old near here is fighting for his life, and a pregnant woman just south of San Antonio is fighting for her life. In Mexico, these folks might have died already, but here in the US, folks are getting Tamiflu or Relenza quickly, and we have ready access to ventilators. What this means is that within a couple of weeks, regional hospitals will likely become overwhelmed.
- Some of the kids with positive cases in Comal County had more than 70 contacts before diagnosis.
- There are 10-25 times more actual cases (not "possible" cases -- actual), than what is being reported in the media. The way they fudge on reporting this is that it takes 3 days to get the confirmatory nod from the CDC on a given viral culture, but based on epidemiological grounds, we know that there are more than 10 cases for each "confirmed" case right now.
- During the night, we crossed the threshold for the definition of a WHO, Phase 6 global pandemic. This has not happened in any of our lifetimes so far. We are in uncharted territory.
- I expect President Obama will declare an emergency sometime in the next 72-96 hours. This may not happen, but if it doesn't, I will be surprised. When this happens, all public gathering will be cancelled for 10 days.
- I suggest all of us avoid public gatherings. Outdoor activities are not as likely to lead to infection. It is contained areas and close contact that are the biggest risk..
- Tamiflu is running out. There is a national stockpile, but it will have to be carefully managed, as it is not enough to treat the likely number of infections when this is full-blown. I don't think there is a big supply of Relenza, but I do not know those numbers. If I had to choose, I would take Relenza, as I think it gets more drug to the affected tissue than Tamiflu.
- You should avoid going to the ER if you think you have been exposed or are symptomatic. ER's south of here are becoming overwhelmed -- and I mean that -- already. It is coming in waves, but the waves are getting bigger.
- It appears that this flu produces a distinctive "hoarseness" in many victims. The symptoms, in general, match other flu's; namely, sore throat, body aches, headache, cough, and fever. Some have all these symptoms, while others may have only one or two.
- N-Acetyl-Cysteine -- a nutritional supplement available at the health food store or Wimberley Pharmacy, (Whole Foods or Sun Harvest) has been shown to prevent or lessen the severity of influenza. I suggest 1200mg, twice a day for adults, and 600mg twice a day in kids over 12. It would be hard to get kids under 12 to take it, but you could try opening the capsules and putting it on yogurt. For 40 pounds and up, 300-600 mg twice a day, for less than 40 pounds, half that.
- Oscillococinum, a homeopathic remedy, has been vindicated as quite effective in a large clinical trial in Europe, with an H1N1 variant. You can buy this at (Whole Foods, Sun Harvest) Hill Country Natural Foods, or the Wimberley Pharmacy.

I will try to keep everyone posted if I have any new information. Meanwhile, don't be afraid just avoid infection. The fewer people infected the easier it will be for our public officials to manage it

The Fairfield Toll Road Authority

We're charging admission to our street now. $5.00 for drive-bys. $10 for tours.

Seriously, we're kinda ready for all the traffic to die down. The Looky-Loos are wearing out their welcome.

In a stroke of genius, all the girls on the street joined forces in a lemonade stand last night. In two hours, they raised over $100. Pretty cool, wouldn't you think??

So.... Monday night, forever known as "The Night of the Fire" was absolutely crazy. I haven't taken time to really let ya'll know the whole scoop, but it was a wild one.

When I called to get the girls in for a gymnastics makeup, all they had left was the 4:10 class. That meant at the very last minute I had to switch the girls to car riders and boogie up to the school to get them. If they ride the bus, they don't get home until about 4:10 -- and the gym is 20 minutes away.

When I picked them up, it was a little cloudy but nothing too bad. It had sprinkled off and on -- nothing to be worried about.

I had COMPLETELY forgotten an earlier conversation with Kelly about all the rain they were getting in Sonora. Note to self: Listen to her next time!

About halfway through class, it got completely black at the gym. AND THEN.... The bottom fell out. A really Gully-Washer. It was raining so hard. The wind was blowing the rain sideways -- just like during the hurricane. Severe lighting. One Mom talked to her husband and reported that we were supposed to stay put -- it was a big, red blob on the radar and was going to be awhile. Another Mom reported that we were in a Tornado Warning.

HELLO!!! I don't do lightning and a I REALLY don't do Tornado Warnings.

Some really nutty Moms were braving the elements -- even pushing strollers. Not me. We stayed put until there was a break, I ran got the car, loaded the kids, pulled out onto Huffmeister, and my phone rang.

Kelly Baehren asking if it's my house on fire.

I didn't know there was a fire.

Scott was on his way to check.

I called Mary to see whose house it was -- it was hers. Did NOT expect that answer.


Huff. was flooding at 290, but luckily I had the truck and made it through. Dropped the kids at Kelly's and parked at the end of her street to walk home -- couldn't get closer.

The Margarita Mamas would have been proud. Here I was, walking through a lightning storm to get home. Lightning eveywhere. Big booms of thunder. But walking through it wasn't nearly as a big a deal as the fireman at the top of a ladder truck who was spraying the top of the house. Now THAT'S brave.

You've seen the pictures and you've seen the video. You know it was a huge task to get that out in the middle of the storm. What you may not know is that God's blessings were everywhere.

And very apparent.

When Mom died, and we came off Browning Hill, there was this HUGE rainbow spread out before us. God's way of telling us everything is going to be okay. The girls and I decided right then and there that Granny was helping him send those rainbows.

After the fire, this is what we saw:

This is just one side. It was a double rainbow, and you could see the WHOLE thing. It was beautiful.

Another thing.... At the time of the fire, Greg was on a plane to Amsterdam, and was planning to connect with a flight to Kazakhstan. We knew that if he got on that second plane, we'd have an awfully difficult time getting him back here. And we knew Mary needed him here.

We called Continental to get a message to him. They refused. They said they couldn't get a message to him because it was connecting to Air Kazakhstan.

Continental suggested we call the Red Cross. The Red Cross couldn't help us because he's not military. They suggested we call the State Department. The State Department connected us to an Embassy rep in Amsterdam.

I'm talking to this guy who sounds rather tired, and in trying to make polite conversation I point that out. He informs me that it's 4:30 in Amsterdam. Ooops. I try to sound empathetic while making sure he knows we need to get Greg off the plane -- and that he's pretty much our last hope.

He tells me he'll try but for me to call the Amsterdam airport. I ask him for the number, and he tells me to look it up on the Internet. Thanks.

So.... We try the airport. No luck. Air Khazakhstan has one of those, "If you speak Khazakhstanian, press 1. If you speak English, press 2." messages. Unfortunately, it was in Khazakhstanian and I couldn't understand it. No luck with that.

At 12:30 a.m., the second thunderstorm is booming outside, and no one in Fairfield is able to sleep. We're all wondering if that bolt of lightning hit our roof. And what about this one?? Or this one? On and on and on.

And my buddy at the Embassy called to let me know someone was meeting the plane.

AND around 2:00 the next afternoon, Greg Got Home! How cool is that??? He said these guys met the plane and kinda scared him -- why would they be looking for him? But they were really nice, told him to call home, and escorted him to the Continental counter, so he could get a seat on the turn-around flight home!!!

Moral of the story? If you want something done, call the State Department.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Jean Family House Fire

When talking about the house fire, so many people have commented on what they would get if they could run in and grab stuff.

If you look at these pictures that one of our neighbors took, you'll see that going back in isn't such a good idea...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Helping the Jean Family....

As many of you know, the Jean family lost pretty much everything in a house fire yesterday evening. Lightning struck their house at about 5:30 p.m.

Praise God, Mary and the girls were able to get out safely. Greg was en route to Kazakhstan on business and was able to get turned around and home by early this afternoon.

Many, many people have stopped by and dropped off clothes, gift cards, etc. Many more people have been asking how they can help. Right now, the Jeans aren't sure where they're going to be living in the 6-9 months it will take to rebuild their home. Their most immediate need is a place to rent during that time. Until that falls into place, it's difficult to list specifics.

Gift cards really are a great way to help right now. They give Mary and Greg flexibility to fill needs as they come up.

Keith Elementary is currently collecting gift card donations for the Jeans. If you'd like to donate a gift card, you can drop it by the school. Or you can mail it to: Greg & Mary Jean, c/o Keith Elementary, 20550, Cypress, TX 77433

If you live in Fairfield, please help me spread the word!


Monday, April 27, 2009

Prayers Needed

My prayer request list is oh-so-long these days, and I'm oh-so-tired right now. But I have one that can't wait.

Please be in prayer for our friends, Greg & Mary Jean, and their girls Katie, Amanda and Hannah. We had an immense thunderstorm this evening, and lightning hit their house. They lost everything on the second floor, including everything in the girls' bedrooms. It will be at least 6 months before their house can be gutted and rebuilt.

The upside is that all the girls got out okay. Toby, their lab, has moved in with us for tonight. The downside is that Greg is on a plane to Amsterdam, continuing to Kazakhstan, and we haven't been able to reach him.

Please pray for them!

p.s. Here is video of Mary and the girls on Channel 13:

Sunday, April 26, 2009

I. Messed. Up.

I'm a slow girl, but I mean well.

And I seldom repeat a huge mistake.

Hopefully I can fix this.

Last year for Abbie's birthday, we went to the zoo. There was no way I could afford to take everyone she knows, much less transport them there. And I try very, very hard not to be exclusionary, so I had to make a call. We invited the soccer team, her two best friends from school, and Hannah from across the street.

Abbie had a wonderful time. ALL the kids had a wonderful time.

But it was the wrong move.

Until this weekend, I didn't realize Abbie had been knocked out of the birthday party circuit for her class. It didn't dawn on me that there have most likely been birthday parties going on that she hasn't been invited to.

But last night, there was a slumber party for a girl in her class who lives one street over from us. She sits next to Abbie on the bus and many times partners with her at school.

And Abbie wasn't invited.

And the list of who was invited included most of the girls in the class.

Abbie being Abbie, she asked this little girl why she wasn't invited. The girl said she didn't have room for Abbie.

I realize not everyone has the same philosophy I do -- that if you're going to invite most of the girls in a class, you should take the leap and invite all of them. And I don't blame them at all -- the Mom probably said the daughter could invite X-number of friends, and she made the pick. And if Abbie didn't include her, the reciprocation clause was null and void.

I do blame myself. I should have been more aware of the impact that Abbie's own personal birthday party would have.

Her birthday is November 9. I've got six months to figure this out.

I'm not making the same mistake twice!

p.s. Don't worry about my Abbie. We had a time last night! We had a sleepover of our own with Boomer at Pa & Mimi's house. I wanted to make sure Abs had something great to talk about on Monday. And she and I have talked about the party. She's okay.

Ads on My Blog

Here's the scoop.

Yes, I'm plugged into an ad agency that places ads on my blog. The ads are family-friendly, never for credit card companies, and I get some say in what is shown and what is not.

The idea is that if I ever manage to generate income from these ads, I can donate it to the 3-Day. So far, though, I haven't generated any income at all. In several months. I'm thinking my blog isn't going to pay for that vital research. Man.

Currently, there is some kind of a pop-up survey ad, red in color, that shows up from time to time on my blog. I have no idea how this ad got here, or how to get it off. I'm annoyed with it, and I want it gone. But I'm not sure where to start.

I've contacted my ad agency to see if it's a rogue ad through them.

Please bear with me as I sort this out.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Quilting is Better in the Country....

At least that's what my T-shirt says!!!

We had a great time in Round Top last weekend. Well, most of the time. It was pouring rain when we got there. Huge wind. Big storm. They had a tornado about 2 miles up the road, and 11" of rain fell in areas of the county.

So we spent pretty much all our time indoors -- which was just what I had planned to do. I got a lot done, but the only project I finished completely was this one.

It's just a little-bitty -- only about 10" square. But it was a blast to make. Kind of a sampler of what my new machine will do. It's a gift for a quilter friend who will appreciate the joy of discovering if all those fancy stitches really work!

And I LOVE these tulips that it stitches for a border! Aren't they cute??

Stay tuned for more pictures of projects from last weekend!


Kait's Kindergarten play was this week -- a musical called E-I-E-I-Oops!

Kait played the role of Mrs. Old MacDonald -- and did so very well, I might add!!!

Of course, I made her costume for her. And we "Put a little Granny in it." It had some of Mom's White Eyelet Lace on the bonnet and neckline. I know Mom is proud!!!

"I'm Old MacDonald's wife, you know. And this is our lovely place."

Mimi & Pa came to watch her acting debut! We're so glad they live close enough to come to the girls' activities!

What am I Doing Here?

Ever feel that way?

For the last couple of years I've felt very transient. I don't know if there is a better word for it -- that's just the one I can come up with. I really don't feel rooted at all. And I don't know what to do about it.

Subbing is great. It's fun. I love the kids. I've made some great friends. But at the same time, I feel like I'm circling around the edges of the pond. Swimming merrily, but around the edges nonetheless.

You eat lunch with these friends, visit with them, share jokes, raid their candy stash. But even though everyone jokes about your setting up a tent in the gym, you're really not a part of things. As a sub you have value. But you're still kind of on the outside looking in. You're not really a part of the team.

It's the same thing at church. I'm not "all in" right now. For the life of me, I don't know why. I can't do it. Maybe it's because of what happened before we left Dallas. Maybe it's because of this wall I have up. Maybe it's because I just can't seem to get involved. Maybe it's because I don't have a really great friend at church.

I don't know.

I just know that right now I don't feel like I'm part of the team.

And I long to be part of a team.

As much as I enjoy subbing, I don't enjoy this sense of being on the outside looking in.

Maybe the tug I'm feeling is the urging to get out there and get a "Real Job." But for that, I have no idea where to start. I'm afraid my limitations would totally get in the way.

The perfect job would be people-oriented.
Allow for creativity, preferably writing.
Would allow me to put my kids on the bus every morning and get them off the bus every afternoon.
Would pay a salary that would make it all worthwhile.

I don't know if that kind of a job exists for me. And I don't know where I'd find it.

And I don't even know if that's what I need.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I Am Second

Have you seen this very powerful website?

You definitely should check it out.

I want to know what you think....

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Drugging Your Kids

Watching my Mom's health decline rapidly gave me a different perspective than most of the world.

In a world where you can get a pill for absolutely everything, I seldom take medication.

No restless leg syndrome, sleep disorders, mild or severe depression or any of that for me.

I'm a firm believer that Newton's law applies to medication as well -- that for every action there's an equal and opposite reaction.

I saw this in my Mom. By the time she passed away on July 21, 2007, there was no way we could keep up with the medications -- many of which she had taken for years. Hyperparathyroidism, kidney failure, breast cancer, severe anemia, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and all the rest -- each illness was accompanied by a set of pills.

Unfortunately, all those prescriptions were anything but harmonious. The steroids used shrink her tumor caused diabetes. Anytime anything was changed or she had surgery, her kidney function decreased. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

What we're doing to our children is what really worries me. The number of kids on "behavior modification" drugs is alarming. In many, many instances, the behavior that needs to be modified is that of their parents. But hey, it's easier to drug your kid than it is to give clear and consistent correction at home.

I had a conversation here while back -- a friend of mine made the remark that because her son was too talkative in class, she was going to have to get him some new drugs. No. No. No. No. No. No.

I have no idea where to begin a discussion with that Mom, but I've spent some time with that kid -- not a ton but a fair amount. And while I'm no expert, I'm thinking a few thoughts..... For one, he's far smarter than I am. His reading level is high, he's on the ball with the answers, and he's like a bulldog when he's inspired by something -- just won't let it go. For another, he says he plays video games. A Lot. A Whole Lot. Morning, afternoon, evening.

Now... I'm not in their house, and I don't know what things are like. But I do know that even if that picture doesn't fit this little friend exactly, there are plenty of kids it would.

And here's what I'm thinking..... Maybe those kids don't need drugs at all. Maybe they need more activity and to ditch the Wii. And maybe being more challenged in school would help their classroom behavior. Maybe they're way ahead of the rest of the class and bored. And while you're at it, putting the fear of God into kids like this wouldn't hurt.

We did that with both our kids. The VERY FIRST time either of them reported getting in trouble in school, we came down HARD. On very minor offenses. And you know what? We seldom have issues with their behavior at school.

Now that a couple of my friends are breathing fire out their noses and ready to call me on the phone, I'm going to issue a disclaimer.

Yes, I know there are exceptions to this Utopian idea of childcare without drugs. Yes, I know that some of your children, or you yourselves for that matter, could not function without them.

I just think it's time to take a hard look at which children really need drugs because of personality / emotional issues. And then look at how many of them are being drugged unnecessarily because the parents are too lazy or irresponsible to actually PARENT those children they gave birth to.

I think it's time to take a good, hard look at the long-term issues these drugs pose. To look at the interactions and potential side-effects they are going to cause down the road. A little peace and quiet now isn't nearly worth the cost of your child or grandchild having cancer or other medical issues down the road.

I also think it's very important to look at their adaptability in the long term. Is your child going to be taking Ritalin when he or she is 50? Wouldn't it make more sense to teach them how to handle their issues? If you don't teach them that now, when are you going to?

Monday, April 20, 2009

For all Four of You Who Read My Blog....

The Breast Cancer 3-Day is having a "SALE" on registration through this Friday, April 24. Save $35 off your registration when you enter the discount code "TEAMS09)

Make a difference.

Go to and click on "Join TEAM."

While you're at it, give your boobies a squeeze or two. In the last few weeks, I've lost one friend to breast cancer and had another friend diagnosed. By "young" I mean a diagnosis before their 40th birthday -- before the "recommend" age for routine mammograms. Sonja left behind two daughters, ages 7 & 5. Ann is busy raising two little girls of her own -- both are in preschool.

This. Has. Got. To. Stop.

So squeeze away -- and then register for the 3-Day. The life you save could be your own!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

You Gotta Read This

For anyone who has wondered how I ended up who I am....

You gotta read this book. You can read a review right here.

The author, Heather McPhaul, graduated from Borden County High School a few years ahead of me. She was more in line with my Cousin Carla's class.

But that didn't stop her from spying on me, so she could write my biography all these years later.


She did.

She must have.

There's a disclaimer at the front of the book that basically states that the book is fiction. Thank goodness, because in the book it sounds like the school nurse kind of has a thing for the superitendent. There's no way.

But as far as I'm concerned, she has me pegged.

I had a red Hawaiian print bikini that I made for a 4-H project. I didn't lose my bikini top at the class swim party, but that was only because no one in our class had a pool. Thank goodness.

But I did have trouble fitting in as an extremely un-athletic child in a basketball-playing dynasty.

And I remember those long bus rides.

And the whole identity crisis that went with living in a town called Fluvanna, in Scurry County, but going to school in Gail, which was in Borden County, with classmates who lived in places like Vealmoor and Draw and the Big Spring Highway.

And watching a movie in the auditorium the day before Christmas Vacation. The one I most remember -- Where the Red Fern Grows. That was definitely an uplifting movie to watch the day before vacation. Pass the Kleenex, please.

And Good Night, we had to hoe a lot of cotton and tromp a lot of trailers.

It's a fun read -- a fun glimpse into what life was like growing up in West Texas. And it'll give you a glimpse into what 7th grade was like for me! (Minus the nutty-as-a-goober Mom. Oh, and praise God the makers of Kotex discovered adhesive before I got to that part of life!)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Didn't Sleep at all Last Night!

I'm too excited about this weekend in Round Top!!!
Royers Round Top Cafe is waiting for me!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Or Maybe This is the Most Uplifting Thing This Week....

Susan Boyle.

Just Amazing.

'nuf said.

Need Some R&R???

Anyone wanna spend this weekend scrapbooking / quilting / reading at a B&B in Round Top? We've got two extra spots on our retreat this weekend.... Email me if you wanna go. dlynbiggs (at) yahoo (dot) com. The meals are AMAZING!!! Friday - Sunday!

Absolutely Uplifting!

A friend posted this on Facebook earlier, and then I followed suit. But I know ya'll aren't all on Facebook, and absolutely didn't want you to miss this.

It's the most uplifting video I've seen in awhile. As a girl growing up in Fluvanna, Texas, watching a movie on TV was always a gamble. We only got three stations -- four if the wind blew just right. But really, Channel 28 wasn't a bonus or anything. It was the same as Channel 12 -- just out of Abilene instead of Lubbock. And we spent many a cold night running outside to turn the antenna. Whoever drew the short end had to run all the way out to the antenna. M'Lys, A'Lise and I would each declare that we had to do that far more than the other girls.

With all that antenna-turning drama, it's a wonder I remember anything we ever watched on TV. But I do. Lawrence Welk on Saturday afternoons was followed by Hee-Haw. We all went into mourning when the Reverend Grady Nutt was killed in the plane crash.

Daddy always watched MASH. MASH is the first show I remember seeing after I got my glasses in the third grade. Until then, I didn't realize how far cinamatography had come. I thought the picture on the TV was supposed to be blurry.

We NEVER missed The Sound of Music. Momma loved that movie. To this day, I can sing every word of every song. So when I clicked on this video, it brought back the best memories. (Well, except for one. Our Aussie, Evant, was run over on Christmas Eve one year -- and we boo-hooed our way through My Favorite Things. When your dog has just died, raindrops on roses and warm woolen mittens just don't do much for you.)

You have to sing along with the video. And if you're really, really lucky, your 6-year-old will ask you to turn up the volume on. the. computer. about mid-way through.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

To Answer Your "What Does Biggsy Do?" Questions

He travels the world and talks all about stuff I don't understand at all.

Here's his screen test from China. You know, the same China where he bought me that fabulous knock-off Coach purse that turned out to be real!! (FYI.... At this point, he was suffering from jet lag, food poisoning, smog and only God knows what else!)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

What a Weekend!

Okay, Gang. Here's the scoop. I really don't have the bandwith (Do they even say that anymore, or is that a late-90's word??) to write my usual bevy of cute posts -- all with custom headlines. I'm whupped. And the week ahead proves to be way more of the same. What does that mean for you?

One big post.

That's right.

Hang in there with me.

We left Friday morning for a much-anticipated fishing trip at the Creek. I'm talking MUCH-anticipated. We haven't had a chance to fish down there for a couple of months, and I was eager to get out on the Bay. Friday was overcast -- but we hit the water about 2:00. There were no really fresh shrimp to be had -- the ones we picked up were a week old and table shrimp. These were the big boys.

Now, I have to say.... I like fishing with these big, honkin' shrimp. They make it hard to cast, but ya'll know I'll take live shrimp over plastics any day. I like to think that the fish think like me. Plastic? Blech.... AND I have firm belief that you catch big fish with big bait. We fished our way around the bay. I caught several gafftops. I'd never caught one before, and boy, those things are slimy! Biggs caught a hardhead or two -- nothing to write home about.

We kinda followed the other boats and pelicans and ended up at a well-fished spot. At this point, I realized that Kaitlyn had drunk an entire Dr. Pepper. As a general rule of thumb, we don't allow our children to have caffeine. Almost never. So when they do, watch out! Kait was talking non-stop while Abbie took a nap. A nap.

Not only does caffeine make Kaitlyn talk, it also makes her pee -- a lot. So about this time I'm trying to negotiate her peeing off the back of the boat. Since it had been a while since we'd been fishing, I was out of my routine and had forgotten to have her wear bikini bottoms under her shorts. So here we are in the Bay and Kait has to strip to pee. I know you're probably thinking that's going a bit far, but based on prior experience, we know what's got to be done. I've got my line pretty much reeled in with my bobber sitting about 10 feet off the back of the boat, Kaitlyn about to jump on the step, and I'm processing whether or not to put on a fresh shrimp when.... SLAM! I've got a bite.

At this point, I was totally unprepared. Told Kait to put her clothes back on and started reeling. I knew it was a fighter. I'm not exactly allowed to use the "best" rods and reels, and I have to say the one I was using was having a hard time working for me. I reeled and reeled and Biggsy was finally able to net my fish -- a 23-inch Trout!! Oh my Heavens! This thing was huge!

Okay. It's not as big as the 29-incher Biggsy caught this winter. BUT it did weigh in at over 4 lbs. I'm mighty proud!

Of course, we kept fishing... I caught another Trout -- this time 14.5 inches -- just shy of the "keeper" size. Biggsy caught a Trout as well and then...

We decided to head back. We'd been out there about five hours and didn't really relish the idea of cruising back up the Creek in the dark. I decided to cast just one more time -- this time with a BIG Shrimp. I made the comment that this one was going to catch a whale and then....

SLAM! Caught a 22-inch Redfish! This thing was beautiful. His coloring was so pretty. It was a huge relief to see that gold color just under the top of the water -- I was afraid I'd caught a huge gafftop -- something I did not want to see!

Here are all three of our fish. Biggsy's is the little one....

Those of you who join us at the Creek from time to time will be glad to know there's a new restaurant where Linda's Bait Camp used to be. It could still use some work, but it looks like they'll have plenty of space for our boat if we want to stop in at the end of a long day.

We got home around 1:00 and had an Easter Egg hunt with the neighbors this afternoon. Afterwards we grilled out, the kids swam and we all had a great time! I am so thankful we live on a great street with lots of girls for our kids to play with!

That's the scoop for now. As I said earlier, this is stacking up to be a busy week. I'm subbing Monday and Thursday -- in Kinder. As of right now, I've got an appointment to be fitted for a new set of orthotics on Tuesday. On Wednesday I'm taking Abs to see an orthodontist for a preliminary, where-do-we-go and when appointment.
And on Friday, I'm going to Round Top! Whoo-Hoo! A group of us are going to spend the weekend out there scrapping and sewing. I can't wait!!!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Back Soon....

He's That Good....

There's something new at my house....

The Janome 6600P. If it weren't almost 1:00 a.m., I'd do that linkity-link thing to the Janome website, but I'm whupped. If you want to know more, you know how to Google -- right?

MORE, MANY MORE, pictures will follow. But until they do, I'd just like to say this....

As a thank you for letting me purchase this incredible machine with more buttons than Carter's has little liver pills and more functions than I can wrap my brain around, I want to let you all know I have an AMAZING, INCREDIBLE, BRILLIANT husband.

And he's really good in the sack.

Something's Missing....

By far, the Big Weekend Award goes to Kaitlyn. Friday night, while Kenlee & Stephanie went to a pin party, Wes, Biggsy & I took the rest of the gang to Nestle's. While there, I realized I hadn't checked Kait's teeth lately to see if any were loose. So I checked, and what do you know.... The bottom front left (her right) tooth was a bit loose!

So I told her and she got all giddy. Kait was beginning to think she'd be the only First Grader with just baby teeth next year. I suggested she wiggle it a bit from time to time -- just as a passing thought. When we got home, I took this picture -- to MAKE SURE I had one last picture of her with all her baby teeth.

I'm sorta attached to her baby teeth. They're tiny. And shiny white. And STRAIGHT. Straight teeth are kinda like winning the lottery around here.

Saturday afternoon, Steph and I ran up to the Outlet Mall for a little Shopping Therapy, and this is what I found when we got back.....

This is Kait doing her darnedest to lose that tooth before school on Monday. She's got it so loose that it's barely hanging on. Just one thing... The tooth she is messing with isn't the tooth that was loose on Friday. This tooth wasn't even loose yet. But this is one determined little girl!
Saturday night, right after she went to bed, Kait pulled that tooth! And something pulled at my heart-strings. My baby is growing up!

But that wasn't enough.... By the time she got home from school on Monday, she'd pulled the other tooth as well! How cool is that??

Weekend with the Scott Family!

One of the worst parts of moving to Houston was having to leave the Scotts behind. But in all the details He had planned, God worked that one out as well.

When we moved up to McKinney I wasn't able to see Stephanie as much anymore. Biggsy and Wes still met for breakfast, but Stephanie and I had a hard time getting together. With kids in school it was just difficult. We still saw each other at church and whenever else we could, but life was crazy.

I do think that was part of God's great plan. A way to kind of wean me off that time with Stephanie -- something I needed. Going cold turkey would have been too hard.

Stephanie and I have a friendship that has been through the Refiner's Fire more than once. When Kait and Ransom were little, they were either at her house or mine. Kait even called her "Mama" for awhile. When one of us would take them to Sam's to buy groceries, people would stop and comment on how cute our twins were -- they did look just like twins. And they still do.

Kait and Ransom were like Peas & Carrots.

I was there when a pregnant Stephanie had to slide down a mountain on her butt -- the last day of her trip to Keystone. Well, by "there" -- I was at the bottom of the hill watching and grinning the whole time.

She and Wes were on deck when Biggsy OD'd on a cough syrup cocktail mixed with cough drops and landed in the emergency room at 2:00 a.m.

I was the photographer when each of her boys were born -- moments so powerful I'll never be able to explain.

She was there when I buried my Mom.

This weekend, McKenlee's team was competing in the DI competition here in Cypress -- about five minutes from our house, so the whole Scott clan moved in for the weekend. And boy, did we have fun! As if Kenlee's competition didn't add a crazy enough element, Abs and Kait both had softball games -- five hours apart.

The kids didn't miss a beat. You'd think they had seen each other last weekend -- rather than it being almost two years since they'd spent time together. They just picked up right where they left off!

Here are The Twins....

The Whole Crew....

Abs & Kenlee. These two played puppy and zoo and everything in between all those years in Plano. Still good friends after all this time!

I LOVE this picture. It's not as sharp as I wish it was, but it's the companion picture to one I took at the Dallas Arboretum years ago. In that one, Abbie & McKenlee are walking down a path. I need to get this one in a frame as well.

We definitely did not have enough time with our friends and are hoping they can come back soon!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Batter Up!

Softball is in full swing around here, and between the two girls we're practically living up at the fields. Abbie's team is 0-4 -- not quite the record we've been shooting for. Kait's T-ball team has only played once -- but they won! (Don't tell her everyone wins!)

I just love this picture....

Biggsy has been pitching the last two games. He's doing a great job of it -- we've had very few strike-outs the last couple of games!

Not Quite a Blogicane, But Hang With Me....

We really have had a crazy couple of weeks around here. I'm not even sure where to start.

For one thing, God has called some of the "good ones" home in the last couple of weeks. Our dear friend Bill Tolar was first. Bill went to church with us at Pitman Creek in Plano. He and his "bride" as he always called her were such a blessing in our lives. He would go head to head with Biggs and the other guys -- and give them a run for their money. He always had a lovely smile and a warm hug. He genuinely cared about us and checked in on us from time to time after we left. He'll be missed.

Last week Biggsy's Aunt Thelma was called home as well. She was 93 and ready to go. She'd lived a long, full life and was an excellent example of how a Christian woman should be. We loved her and will miss her -- and her pies!

And then, over the weekend, we lost a staff member at Keith to heart attack. Sandy was in her 50's -- young. She leaves behind a 19-year-old daughter who has a baby. Sandy's other daughter is autistic. Please pray especially for Sandy's family and the challenges ahead.

With all of this going on, I managed to sub a record 8 days straight. That may not seem like a lot to you, but it was all in Kinder. I was in a mix of classes, which was good. But I think I've lost my title of Fairy Submother and have become the Wicked Submother of the West. By yesterday afternoon I was depleted of energy -- and had run out of threats to use. I needed a mental health day like nobody else.

I just realized this post is going to be anything but chronological -- bear with me, please.

With all of this going on, we finally got the yearbook finished and sent in. I know of one mistake -- but am not stressed about it. Just a picture that ended up in the wrong class page. It's such a huge task! I'm so glad the production side of it is done -- and can't wait to see the finished product!

And with all THAT going on, I had to make Kaitlyn's costume for the Kindergarten musical. It's called EIEI-Oops! Praise God she was cast as Mrs. Old MacDonald. I have one dear friend whose child has to wear a mule costume. YIKES. I'm in the process of making Kait a blue and white calico dress with a blue apron and a blue and white gingham bonnet. There is no way I can convey how cute it all is. But I'll be posting pictures as soon as I'm finished. Kait has three lines to say in the play, so we've been working on those.

With all of THAT going on, we finally got the answer to Kaitlyn's GT appeal. She's in!!! I can't tell you how excited and relieved I feel. I think this is going to be GREAT for Kait! And I can't wait to see who her teacher will be next year.

So.... That's all the non-picture news... Now comes the fun part!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Hanging by a Thread

I'm hanging on by a thread. Perched precariously on the edge of sanity. No time to go into detail, but this is what we've been doing. Hopefully a blogicane will follow tomorrow, and I can fill you in completely.....

We've had two lost teeth, two lost softball games, one won T-ball game, a yearbook to finish, dear friends in from out of town, a Kindergarten musical costume to make, lines to run, sight-words to learn, math placement tests to take, an answer to Kait's GT appeal, a new sewing machine to shop for, a girls' weekend to plan for, Easter eggs to shop for, graduation / wedding gifts to make, more laundry than should be possible and venison spaghetti for dinner.

All this and today will mark 8 days straight that I've subbed in Kindergarten and have seriously been wondering about the use of mind-altering drugs in children and whether or not they work.

Calgon, take me away!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Have You Seen This??

You HAVE to check this out....

I HAVE to order one.

The possibilities are endless....