Monday, July 27, 2009


We are making our annual pilgrimage this week out to the Davis Mountains, where we will stay for almost 2 weeks. We are looking forward to the cool weather, the beautiful scenery, the excellent food and the fabulous fellowship with family and friends! But to get there, we've got to start with packing--which is what I have been doing for the last three days. There are the clothes, of course, but there is also a whole host of others things. Such as:
  • Linens and pillows for 8 beds, including a few extras "just in case"
  • Towels/washcloths for at least 11 people
  • Various tools and home improvement-type implements
  • A cooler full of boxed drinks--a rare treat we almost never indulge in except at Campmeeting
  • 2 cases of Diet Dr. Pepper
  • Mop
  • A fan AND a heater
  • Various gifts for some of the people we will see
  • Toilet Paper
  • First Aid Kit
  • Blankets
  • Jackets
  • Ruth's telescope--because this place has the most fantastic night sky ever
  • Board games
  • Reading Material
  • My in-laws' mail, which WILL NOT stop coming to our house, no matter how hard we try to get it to.
  • Chai and hot chocolate mix
  • Diapers and wipes in abundance
  • Max's Pack-N-Play
  • A stack of childen's DVDs
  • 2 sets of wireless headphones to make the trip (more) bearable for all of us
  • And, the kitchen sink. (Of course, I'm kidding about this one. But, I wouldn't be surprised if my father-in-law has one in to take).
We will be completely removed from all modern technology, so we'll catch back up with you sometime after we get back. In the meantime, just talk amongst yourselves.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Kids out to eat

The restaurant we dined at tonight had a "children's section." Any one who came in with a kid under about the age of 12 was seated there. And, I think this is a great idea. I'm surprised more places don't do something like that. But, I'm very proud to report that, even though our group is occasionally messy and loud, Jeff and I have never hesitated to take our kids out in public. They know it is a privilege to get to go out, and they know how to behave. (And it's not because we just got lucky with good kids). And, usually, they do a fantastic job. Last night was a great example. (I know, out two nights in a row). Jeff and the kids arrived at the restaurant 20 or 30 minutes before I did, due to some unexpected road construction. I'm told the kids were pleasant the whole time. After I arrived, and while we were waiting on our food, a lady from another table approached us to tell us "these are the best-behaved kids I have ever seen at a restaurant." She had also drawn a picture of each child, which she presented to us as a gift. Jeff and I swelled with pride, and the children were all very pleased with themselves as well. We were quick to tell the kids how proud we were of them, and to point out that times like this make us want to take them out more often. Don't get me wrong, we've had our share of having to get up and leave the restaurant in the middle of the meal, usually completely mortified. But, overall, it is fun for us to take our kids out. And it's especially fun when others notice their good behavior and encourage them to keep it up through positive reinforcement.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Glutton for Punishment

Hey. Me here. Sorry it's been a while. The reason I haven't been blogging is because Jeff and I have been staying up late playing his new game, Settlers of Catan. And I must have one of those bizarre OCDs where you can't stop inflicting pain on yourself, because Jeff has been beating the pants off me, and yet, I can't stop playing! (I did win a couple of rounds early on, but clearly that was a fluke)! It's really fun, and we are looking for some other "settlers" to join us. Wanna play? (I could really use some other players, especially bad ones, to make me look better).

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I came very slowly and reluctantly into the social networking world. And, I will admit that there are still lots of times that I feel the whole thing is ridiculous. I mean, who really needs to know (or even cares) what I'm doing right now or what I scored on the latest lame quiz?! But, I will say this, I have been able to reconnect with people from my past that otherwise might have just slipped out of my life completely. I have in my "friends" list people I went to elementary school and Jr. High with, people I went to high school with, people I went to college with, people I got to know in my post-college/early adulthood and people that I have only recently met. When I log on to Facebook, it's like the whole story of my life--each chapter with it's different characters--is right there before me. And I think that's kind of neat. Every time I come across someone I have known, memories flash in my mind. And a smile can be found in many of these memories. And, smiling is something we could all do a little more of. And not only that, but I am discovering new things about these people, too. And there are smiles in many of these new discoveries as well. I'm definitely not a die-hard Facebook fan, but I will say that I can see value in being connected. Of remembering who you were and knowing who you are. And having people to share that connection with.

Monday, July 20, 2009

That's my GIRL

My boys are so much fun, and I love hanging out with them. But none of them (right up to the biggest boy of all) get shopping. This activity doesn't thrill them. Doesn't excite them. Doesn't do anything for them, except make them cranky. But my girl. Oh, my girl! She gets it. She loves to touch the fabrics. To try on shoes. To look at pretty things. Even if we can't take them all home. (Even if we can't take any of them home). We had the best time today--just the two of us--shopping together. And, she is the best kind of shopping buddy. She doesn't demand or insist or beg. She simply enjoys the experience. And if we should get to take something home, she is appreciative. She is my shopping buddy. She is my girl.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

In the words of Weston

  • "Did you put a swim soup (suit) in my soup case? And how about some scream (sun screen)?"

  • "I need to take a massage."

  • "I like lellow."

  • "I can go potty by myself, but can you just come watch me?"

  • "Who is going to give you hugs when I'm at preschool?"

  • "I only have 4 more hugs, so you better get them before Daddy starts asking for some."

  • "Can we fix it? No we can't."

  • "Do we have any skin (skim) milk? How about cold (whole)?"

  • "Maybe while Ruth is gone, we could slip up to her bathroom and wash our hands and get a drink."

  • "I'm really ready for bed now."

  • "Maybe. Maybe not. I'm just keeping my options open."

  • "I want meat and cheese on my burger and no of other stuff."

      • Monday, July 13, 2009

        Saturday, July 11, 2009

        Early Birthday

        I was away from the house for a good part of the day today to take Ruth to meet her grandparents for an upcoming week of "Nana Camp" with two of her cousins. When I arrived home, there was a U-haul trailer parked in my driveway, and I wondered which of our neighbors was moving. When I started up the driveway, I noticed some very large boxes. And, when I made it into the house, I was greeted with birthday wishes and a room full of new furniture. And not just any furniture, but the furniture I have been pining for ever since I saw it several months ago. Talk about surprised! The formal living room is my "safari room," and this furniture is absolutely perfect for the theme. I love it so much! I'm including the store's stock photo (only mine will have zebra striped throw pillows instead of the ones seen here), but know that it is so much prettier in person and just so right. If you don't believe me, you should just plan to come visit. My sweetie scores big, big points with this amazing early birthday present.

        Friday, July 10, 2009

        All work and no play makes Mandi a dull girl

        Which, of course, you all know I am not. And, lest you think, based on my last post, that this week was all work, I wanted to share some of the "play:"

        *Took quite possibly the most hilarious walk ever. Grown-up pushing stroller, pushing tricycle. Hilarious.

        *Had lunch with an old college friend that I haven't seen in ages and her two sweet kids, with the promise of doing it again soon and often, since they live not very far from us at all.

        *Attended the weekly story time at Barnes & Noble, followed by the purchase of a beautiful book about elephants for my safari room off the discount shelf and a delightful lunch with my kiddos in the mall's food court.

        *Spent the day out with just Max, running errands and bonding over ice cream, while a wonderful young lady and good friend watched the big kids for me.

        *Laughed out loud on several occasions at my hysterical children.

        *Watched Ruth and Max do a rousing performance of "fancy footwork".

        *Heard Weston tell something like a hundred "knock-knock" jokes, each one funnier than the last.

        *Had a lovely lunch with a new friend, two of her beautiful daughters and my two big kids. We simply cannot wait for the opportunity to do it again.

        *Had shrimp for two meals in one day.

        *Celebrated an early half-birthday for Max at one of our favorite places. Sharky's is right on Lake Houston, and we got to sit outside--on the shady side. And, there was a nice breeze blowing. The food is excellent, and there is a dancing fountain right outside to play in before and after dinner.

        *Rejoiced in the glowing report we got back from the standardized test Ruth took back in the Spring. The short of it is that she made about a 95 and was well above average for most of the content.

        Thursday, July 09, 2009

        Handy Mandi

        In addition to the regularly scheduled program around here this week, I have also taken on a few other projects:
        *I hung a new towel rack near my sink in the bathroom. No more walking halfway across the room with drippy hands!
        *I repaired a chair leg on an old chair that we acquired while at Jeff's parents' house, and also vacuumed off the upholstery of it and it's partner. With places to sit in the living room, it now seems a bit more inviting. Not to mention, I think the old chairs just look so cool.
        *I added a storage unit to the inside of the cabinet under the sink in the kitchen to hold the foil and plastic wrap. That should eliminate all the awkward cramming and/or digging and/or falling that previously went along with using those products.
        *I made a double batch of my new favorite chai mix to have on hand at all times. Because you just never know when the urge will strike.
        *I assembled my new clothes steamer and put it through it's first test. It passed with flying colors, ironically making putting the laundry away less of a chore for me. (I have issues, what can I say)?!
        *I very successfully and somewhat successfully (depending on the unit) removed years of built-up gunk from some plastic-coated wire shelving units, which I can now surely put to good use somewhere in this house.
        *I took on the pantry...and conquered it! It looks awesome! And, get this, we can actually find things in there! Amazing. I mean, we have canned salmon. Who knew?! Now if all of my family members will just look, but not touch, the pantry bliss will go on and on.

        Tuesday, July 07, 2009

        Sunday, July 05, 2009

        Nothing to see here

        I am sorry but I do not have an interesting post in me tonight. Nor do I even have any pictures from our time away to share with you. I simply wanted to let you know that we are home, and that hopefully my blogging will become more regular in the days and weeks ahead.

        Thursday, July 02, 2009

        Another New Skill Mastered

        Yesterday, Ruth couldn't (wouldn't) ride a bike at all. Within a half hour she was going pretty good with someone running along beside. By this morning, she was confident enough to tackle it all on her own--without anyone else even being outside, much less running along beside. The video footage is of her first time doing it all on her own. It is so fun watching her succeed!