Tuesday, July 31, 2007

My Baby Sister, My Precious Baby Sister

I have been reminded from time to time, in a joking manner of course, that I wasn't the greatest of big sisters for awhile. I think I had a little rebellious and mean streak for a few years, that I am completely repentent for. These were the years of sibling rivalry I am assuming but the passion that I have for my sisters now fogs whatever issues were before. I ADORE and LOVE my sisters. I have told you before about Jody but today, belatedly, I am celebrating Kathy's life and her birthday and her journey with me through life with her hand and heart in mine. I can't even begin to tell you what an influence she is in my life and how much she means to me. She has the kindest and most sincere heart you will ever see or meet. Her eyes are focused on the prize of Heaven and she, although she's the baby, tries hard to keep me directed in that path. I admire her humble little spirit. She is so like my parents like that. She just goes around doing good and not wanting to be seen or praised. She is always there for me......and always has been even when I am not so lovable. She is the baby of the family. I love to hear her laugh! She has the most contagious and "crystal clear" pure laugh. She is touched to tears easy too. She is the go getter but she has a direction when she goes unlike me who goes in all directions. I started a list of all the things I love about her and there was no way to condense it into a blog. There were too many things I love about her. She is compassionate and easily brought to tears by other's brokeness. She is a nurturer and an amazing mother. She is a Godly wife. Let me add she is married to a Godly man who is very special to me too! He takes wonderful care of my sister and for that I'll always be grateful. Her children and grandchildren have been her life and passion. The "seeds of salvation" she planted deep within each one of them and they are exceptional people.....all four ( counting Tine too ). I have always been very proud of her. She may not really know all the times I was in high school when she was the little one that got teased from my friends that I really did stand up for her. They all thought she was darling and loved to tease her. But, sometimes I would say, "Enough already!" I can honestly say that I would do anything, go anywhere she needed me. But, usually, as usual I am the needy and she comes to me. She loves me......She loves my children ( as I do hers ) and she prays for me. I know she does. And for that......how much more could I ask ? I need her beside me in this life. I want to be like her. She is the most beautiful woman. Inside and out. I love her with all my heart. Happy Late Birthday, Giggi.....FaFa......Sissy.......Kathy......
And yes, Camp Neena is still happily clicking along. Not sure about closing ceremonies. We don't want to discuss it at all. We stayed at the campgrounds today and just enjoyed being here together. We swam and talked and talked. I have had a bad headache and he has checked on me and been very thoughtful that I needed to rest some today. He is precious. But, you know that. I already told you!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Everybody Needs a Rooster

He has always been my ROOSTER. I don't know how we got started calling him that but I believe it was POPPI, his great grandfather and my daddy who started it almost 11 years ago. Yes, I am sure it was. We all had nicknames or pet names from my daddy. I had a list of nicknames myself from him. My kids all had nicknames too......Hezzy, Baby Aawee, and Duckie. So, that mystery is solved. And the name Rooster stuck......

Camp Neena, I promise, does abide by all child labor laws. Any work you see being imposed here is strictly begged for by the child. He has always loved this lawn mower. When he couldn't even sit up he would sit in my lap and be content to ride around on the mower with me. Then, being the "key crazy" kid he used to be, he would toddle out and just stick the key in the ignition and sit there for hours. Then, one day, he stretched his legs as far as he could and he could almost reach the pedal. So, he would steer and I'd push the pedal. Seems like yesterday. Those old long legs have reached the pedal for a couple of years now and it's his favorite thing to do. Ride in circles around the place. For hours. He runs out of gas and then fills it back up and goes again. Is he easy to entertain or what? In the spring we bought the little wagon "gadget" to hook up and haul the million of sticks to the "bonfire" pile at the creek. I always wish I had all those sticks when I am looking for kindling in the winter but we can't mow in the summer until all the sticks are picked up. Three acres of pecan trees produces alot of sticks, believe me! I promise I didn't ask him to do this! That would've taken all the fun out of it for him. He even proudly did some of the photos of his work for me to blog.

I realize in a few years, the teenage years, the work won't seem so fun but today I sat on the deck and watched alot of memories being made from Camp Neena. All on the seat of a riding lawn mower.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Back to # 1 Rankings

Camp Neena was reevaluated yesterday and the results were outstanding. A day trip to the UT campus was thouroughly enjoyed by the Director and her camper. All the years I have lived this close and I have never even walked every single sidewalk on the campus! Yes, we logged a few BEVO miles but it was fun. At least until we got lost at 10:30 PM trying to find the parking garage! Then I used that moment as a teachable one about being aware of your surroundings, not talking to STRANGERS, holding your head up like you are very focused and brave, and being ready at all times to run like the wind if someone starts after us. It was a good lesson. We did find the garage though we just had to go about 3 miles out of our way across the 50 yd line ( just kidding about the yd line but we were on the sidewalk of the Darryl K Royal Texas Memorial Stadium and then we headed back up on the main road.......I am, as my family knows, very directionally challenged. We saw so many neat sculptures, waterfountains, old buildings but we never did see Vince Young down visiting although we watched for him.

We were lucky enough to catch the last tour going up on the UT tower. Camper really liked that. We got to see all over the world it seemed when we got up there. There is a wire cage that surrounds the roof ever since the Whitman massacre in 1966 and then at least 9 known suicides since that time. Plus, security is tight there now. Just like there is everywhere. There were campus police officers at several levels and I had to show a picture ID before we went up the elevator. You know how I have that "terrorist" look in my eyes. We saw the BIG orange lights that illuminate the tower for all UT WINS and there are lots of those. We were right beneath the clock where you see the wire surround. They said the clock is 14' wide. Could that be possible?

We loved the huge fountain. We thought the splatters looked like soap bubbles and the waterfall effect fell over a huge rock ledge. We climbed up alot of stairs! We could see the Texas State Capitol perfectly. Too bad it was closed or we might have walked over there. Wait...I think we did when we were lost! Not really.

Then of course one of the real reasons we took this day trip, besides our love of the ORANGE and WHITE , was to watch our sweet Whitster play basketball at Gregory Gym on the campus. It was team camp so she was there with her entire high school team. They played 5 games on Saturday but we only watched the last 2. We loved it and we were proud of our hustler on the court. There were 4 courts of games going on at the same time. I heard whistles for the next 5 hours.
WE LOVE YOU WHITSTER! Thanks for sitting with us....and letting us cheer for you.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Camp Day 1 was......

a rain out and a "bust". Unfortunately, the camp director was still feeling the effects of being away from home for a month on the fun and wonderful Nanny 999 duty and the relaxing beach trip and there was not much excitement. For example:

1. Rain. Central Tx is not experiencing drought conditions. It kept us inside. Thank goodness for ESPN. We checked the computer every 3 - 5 minutes for the newest stats on anybody that ever held a bat. I had forgotton how much information a 10 year old brain can hold. Mine doesn't hold near that anymore. He is amazingly accurate with every trivia bit.

2. We found a baseball bat...no ball. Finally located a ball that had lived through the Mitch era. Don't expect crayolas and Barbie color books are enough for this camper. He didn't even want a pedicure last night! Go figure.

3. Too wet to shoot hoops or drive the lawn mower.

4. This is important. Don't EVER try to fool the camper with Prego sauce instead of "Neena's" famous spaghetti sauce. One bite told it all.

5. Don't assume because Turner and Hooch was funny 15 years ago that is funny to a 10 year old today. Waste of Movie on Demand. Camp Director watched it alone and it was NOT funny. Tom Hanks has improved alot.

6. Always have enough frozen OREOS and Bluebell on hand. Hey, I've been gone a month! Cut me some slack. He never complains though, he just goes on to something else.

So TODAY some changes are being made for the success of this camp.

1. First and foremost we are headed to the UT campus. ( Sorry, Lacie. ) We are going to roam around the land of the orange and white and catch our niece Whitster play some basketball at UT camp.

2. We are stocking up on sporting good supplies.

3. We are on a junk run to the grocery store.

Hopefully, these three things will get us through the weekend with a happy camper. Who happens to be a very experienced camper at Camp Neena and really doesn't care about all those things. He is content to "waller" on his down comforter "nest playing Playstation or whatever. Every hour or so he requires a hug and a kiss but NO problem there! I did find out, rather by accident, that he does expect this session to be chronicled, journaled and photographed like Session I. So, photos are promised on a daily basis. Plus, we have already made our own door sign especially for this exclusive camp session. He's my special boy for sure! Don't worry Avery and Jaxon. Neena should have this down by the time you register.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Tanner and Tireder!

We are home from a long planned trip to the Texas Gulf coast. We had anticipated this trip for a long time and it proved to be just wonderful. Nana and Poppi even drove down and spent a night with us. Nana got to get her feet in the sand and surf! And Poppi? Well, let's just say that the beach is not his favorite but as always he tries to please all his girls. We stayed at a fabulous place that didn't disappoint the kids with things to do. Or the parents. We spent lots of time in the sun and the weather was perfect. It rained early early early a couple of mornings and then the sun was out. With the exception of the DOWNPOUR on us girls and Baby Av at the pool one afternoon. It was great for Av and I because we were under an umbrella. The others stayed in the pool and just got "wetter" ! I love it to rain at the ocean. I stood on the balcony and watched the lightning out in the deep dark "nowhere" point on the horizon. There is something about the ocean that just ignites passion in my soul. It is a really spiritual place for me. We had great seafood last night. The only downside and disappoint was that our A town kids didn't get to make the trip. Tiny Princess was not to blame either! We think she would have had a wonderful time in the condo with Neena & Princess A but coaches started work already and Coach D didn't feel he could ask off on his first week of duty! We plan to make this a tradition. We all hated to leave.

This was the last in the long line of planned "things" I have since I retired in June. My feet have not hit the ground since that day. Rooster came home with us from the beach and the 2nd session of Camp Neena is now underway. He is a very laid back camper practically demanding ZERO attention. I forget he is in the house especially if the Astros are on. I love having him but don't look for nature photos or frog capture stories. We are going to plan some fun things. We might check in to a rafting trip if we can get a reservation. We might go into to Austin and check out some UT stuff. He is a BIG UT fan. From a long line of BIG UT fans. We plan to catch a movie or 2 or 3. All in all Camp Neena II should be a great week. Stay tuned. I may make him post his own version one day.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Chatty Kathy

It is going to be a few days before I am back officially in blogland. Alot has been going on in my life ... alot. Good things though. But, but be on the watch for my next post which will be a birthday "praise" about my baby sister who is still not 50 yet. Durn her. She has a birthday on the 23 and as is my custom I'll introduce to you the perfect calm in our family of wild hyenas.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Baby Steps with Bob

I love the movie, "What About Bob?"! It is unnerving but it is extremely funny. Bob is out of control and needs extreme nurturing from his therapist. The part of the movie that I relate to is that the therapist tries to ingrain in him that he can't overcome his problems all at once that he has to realize that he has to take "baby steps" ...... just a few at a time so that he does not get so overwhelmed. I snapped up that free advice! I have looked around today and thought, "How am I going to get all this unpacked and then repacked for the beach on Sunday?" Then I remembered Bob. So all day I have tried to take baby steps and unpack a few bags at a time, wash a load, then unpack and organize. Without getting overwhelmed too, I might add! I have just taken my time and realized that it will all get done. Thanks Bob!..

And by the way......is it just me or am I on a movie relating pattern in my last few blogs? I think I am. I wonder what that means?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Monday, July 16, 2007

Neena Poppins

I think my work here is done. I am not sure I really was ever needed but I have sure enjoyed it. I have been blessed to have watched this precious little family bond together. These parents are all into this parenthood gig. I will leave here knowing that Tiny Princess is in good hands. I never doubted that for a minute anyway. We have had so much fun but it's time for me to go.

Why am I not so sad? Because, they are going home with me. Tiny Princess birth just happened to coincide with our family vacation so for the next 1 week and 1/2 I will be with all my little "puddies" and I'll literally be on cloud 9.

I have found that the most amazing thing about parenthood is stepping back and watching your children become parents. It's knowing that in spite of the things I did or didn't do right....that the things I said in anger or the things we said in love are all important in their own ways. That even parents need to apologize when they make mistakes with their children. I learned that. Believe me, I made plenty of mistakes. I wanted them to know that I was human too and the only way I knew how to parent was trial and error. Lots of error but lots of prayers and guidance from the Heavenly Father. And you know what ? I remember so many nights kneeling at their beds while they slept hoping they wouldn't ever remember that I got angry with them over something trivial. But, they survived me and I survived them and we are all better people , parents and a Neena because of it. I taught my children plenty of things by example that were probably not right but I did teach my children about the Lord. I surrounded them with Godly people and a church family to nurture them. It is important, very important, the kind of people you choose to surround your children with. Influences are important as soon as the tiny ones take their first breaths. My children had grandparents, maternal and paternal, that were an integral part of their Christian upbringing. But, I planted that seed as deep as I could plant it. I was lucky or rather blessed to have my parents close by to guide me and help me in my adventures of becoming a parent. I firmly believe that a parent's greatest responsibility is to prepare their children for eternity. To return them to the Father who gave them to me.

"Before you were conceived I wanted you. Before you were born I loved you. Before you were here a second, I would die for you. This is the miracle of life."—Maureen Hawkins

Someday all this traveling to see each other will be over and my utmost prayer is that we all live on the same cul de sac in Heaven. I don't even need or want a mansion. I just want to know that I brought my children home.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Things are still going smooth at the house of Tiny Princess. I am not one for persnickety schedules but I do believe that babies and parents are much more passive and secure when there is a plan. We are slowly getting things to a little tighter schedule. She never cries or is fussy for no reason. She has been a really good baby. I know that when I leave and when they start back on their work schedules that all this is subject to change! She is a week old today and the days have gone so fast. I am planning to stay until the middle of next week. I think Paps is missing me by now. I know our house is too quiet with me gone.

We have gotten lots of projects done while I am here though. I have baked a few casseroles and put them in the freezer and we've caught up on the wash and cleaning. Today we were trapped in the house in our pj's because we woke up to a day of rainstorms. So, we tried to scrapbook a little and watch a movie. It is sort of like a week long slumber party! During college JD worked for a movie rental place and she gets first picks on new releases that aren't even on the shelves yet. So, tonight we are watching a great one! PREMONITION with Sandra Bullock. I hope we aren't snoozing before it's over.

In greater news, we are headed to the coast in a week. We have had these reservations for awhile and have really been looking forward to all getting together again after all the babies were born. I am planning on rocking and rocking and playing with my big g'babies in the sand and surf. It's been a busy spring around my place. And I'm loving it.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


I have met this guy . Up close and personal the last two nights. There are 2 others who have witnessed this. He is a force to be reckoned with for sure.

These are the other adults in the house this morning. This is after coffee and stimulating conversation.

this morning at 8:30 AM.

Monday, July 09, 2007

And Then There Were Four

THIS TINY PRINCESS HAS CAPTURED US ! You thought I was kidding didn't you? Is she beautiful or what? Do you see her Daddy's loving hands?

She has her beautiful mommy's lips!
Her daddy's dark hair.
Our family eyes.
Her aunt's eyebrows.
Her great great grandmother's long fingers and toes.
She has spent the last few days studying us all and wondering what in the world she has gotten herself into.

I can't even tell you in words how much I love these four! We all spent the weekend together with Tiny Princess. They have all gone home now and left me to love on her alone and I am taking full advantage of it. Even Paps had to go home to support us in the manner to which we are accustomed. I am retired you know! So for tonight the kingdom here consists of Tiny Princess, her royal mommy and daddy and Neena the mesmerized. Remember how long and anxiously I awaited Princess Possum? She is held by her loving cousin and Tiny Princess is in the arms of Miss Royalty. The Royal aunts escorted by Sir Knight Uncle T made the longest of trips with babes in tow to get here. A weekend of memories like you wouldn't believe.

Nana and Poppi drove all around Texas to get to the hospital. They are they are the heart, soul and rock of our family. They are the reason we are all who we are.

.....seems like just yesterday I held this big guy in my arms and couldn't believe he was my little son. Now I can't believe he is a daddy.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Tiny Princess

There is certainly no doubt
about it today. We brought home the loveliest of little princesses. All 6 lbs and 13 oz of her.
She is so tiny and perfect in every way! Big black eyes and black hair with beautiful olive skin. Her mommy and daddy have not quit smiling. And of course, I haven't either. I am on the first shift night duty. So far....so good.
I have learned that it doesn't matter how much experience you have being a mother that a new baby and night fall can cause panic and uncertainty in the most "weathered" of Neena's. I plan to stare at her most of the night. Her mommy is doing an absolutely amazing job of new motherhood. She is so calm and her maternal instincts have just gone into high gear. She is so calm and peaceful with the baby and the baby is reacting in the same calmness. She is patient and her heart is overflowing with love and amazement that this princess is hers. She is going to be a wonderful mom. I knew she would. Her daddy is just pacing and wondering what to do next. He has taken out the trash at least a million times. He even loaded and unloaded the dishwasher without being told! He has always had the most tender and loving of hearts and I know that will be a great asset to his new role of fatherhood. Not to mention that this child will be raised in a home where the parents adore her, each other and give their praise to God for it all. I am honored to be here with them these next few days helping them settle into parenthood and to do whatever I can to help. I used to know from memory a poem that touched my heart when I had my first child and I want to share it with the Tiny Princess' mom tomorrow.

"Help me Dear Lord to be a good mother,
to guide those depending on me.
Help me teach them to look for and find
the best in themselves and each other.
Help me to guide them in your Heavenly Ways
In faith that they learned from their mother."

I don't remember the author and I know that I forgot some of the words so if you remember this poem let me know so I can write it down and save it for the Tiny Princess. Wish you could be here for the ALL NIGHT party! So far she's been perfect.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

What Does the Yellow Light Mean?

SLOW DOWN! I used to LOVE the show, Taxi. Jim Ignatowsky was my favorite. I remember one episode where Jim and Bobby were trying to take a written driver test. Jim kept trying to get Bobby to help him with one question.

Jim: Pssssttt... What does the yellow light mean? Bobby: Slow down. Jim: What... does... the... yellow... light... mean? Bobby: "Slow down"! Jim: Whaaaat... dooooeeees... theeeee... yeeeel-looowwww... liiiiight... meeeeaaan?

GUESS YOU HAD TO BE THERE! I still crack up thinking about it. Do you remember the show? I also loved Simka and Latka. How in the world did they talk like that?

But, slow down is my thought today. It has been a very busy few weeks culminating in today's birthday of our country. I hear fireworks out my window as I type this. It makes me so grateful to be here and not somewhere hearing the bombs like are being heard in Iraq and around the war torn countries involved in this war. GOD BLESS AMERICA. Bless the beasts and the children. For in this world they have no voice or choice. Pray tonight that God will heal our nation and pray for the leaders that are making the decisions, right or wrong.

On another note our air conditioning unit decided today on this holiday, to stop working. I have a new appreciation for the fan. I remember when it was all we had. It was good enough then but we are spoiled to the quietness and efficiency of our central unit. Today being a holiday was NOT a good idea to call the repair man because it is going to be $$$$ enough to have it "looked" at and diagnosed. Today would have been tripled, I suspect. So, patiently for now I sit. in. front. of. the.fan.
The best and most exciting news of all is that tomorrow we are going to A town to be present for the birth of Jaxon Blair. To say we are excited is an understatement. The kids called the other night to say they were bored and I told them to enjoy these last few nights as a couple because words can NOT even begin to explain that their lives will never be the same. From here on out, their lives will be consumed with another human being that they will love enough to give their life for. They will no longer be a couple. They will be a family. Pray for us all as we wait for that moment when we meet our little angel.
For me today it is all about recollection of this time last year.
I was being loaded up in STARFLIGHT and flown to Heart Hospital.
Once again, God's Hand was over me and I am celebrating
the 4th with family and friends and dreaming of the future!