Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Almost 18 months.

Isn't she cute? Yes, she is. And she's a bully! ☺

(Here she's modeling my new cowboy hat. I have yet to figure out why in the world I bought that dumb thing. :) She still has the most amazing lips!)

This toddler is intimidated by no one. Doesn't matter what size you happen to be. She's a smacker. She's a thrower. And she's a pusher. If you are holding her, & you make her angry, she's gonna pop you right in the face. If she's holding something, & you make her angry, you better duck 'cause she's gonna chunk that object straight at your head. (Just ask Audi. She's infatuated with that child & banging on his head. The boy doesn't stand a chance around here. He's very experienced with the 'stop, drop & roll' method.) And if you're somewhere she wants to be - no worries - she's going to physically remove you by pushing you out of the way, so she can be where you are were. What baffles me the most is that none of the forementioned behavior is allowed in or out of our home. Her siblings do not hit/smack. They do not throw (unless it is acceptable throwing with an acceptable object). They do not push. She has not been in a church nursery enough to learn this behavior from other undisciplined children. So, I have no clue how this came to be. I do know it is not tolerated & she is reprimanded sternly. And I do know that she continues to ask for forgiveness by tossing her arms around you for a hug & kissing you smack on the lips. Then all is well until she does it again. ;o)

The below photos show how she runs around every.single.day. Something of some sort is constantly hanging out of her mouth. It's the strangest thing. I remember when Audi was little, he always had to have something in his hand (actually, he still does). She, however, must have something in her mouth. It bothers me for safety reasons, but there is nothing I can do about it. I can take objects away & in no time she'll have something else in there. So I've decided to pick my battles & just let her be. This object happens to be a utensil from a tea party set. ☺

Is she not the cutest thing? Pony tail 1/2 in & 1/2 out & those dimples - so sweet. Her hair is still very unruly. And getting worse. It needs to be trimmed but there is no way she will sit in a beautician's chair while her hair is trimmed. I'm contemplating doing it myself. Because her hair is curly, the beautician told me I really can't "mess it up". Obviously she didn't know who she was talking to. ;o)

The photo below is one I snapped tonight. She's a dipping fanatic. She wants everything dipped if mom's dipping. Hot sauce. Ranch dressing. Ketchup. The only thing I can find so far that she is not interested in is sour cream. The child eats salad. She would live off of strawberries if I let her. She eats veggies (prefers raw) except for green beans. She won't touch them. She devours salami. And french fries. Tonight I put her own ranch on her high chair tray & she went to dipping her carrots & green bell pepper all on her own (usually I do it for her). She's getting to be so big. Her hair is wet here - I had just given her a bath. Who in their right mind gives a child a bath, lotions her up & then gives her ranch dressing all to herself? She had fingerpainted quite a bit when she was done dipping. That's a scratch on her forehead. The other day she was trying to stand on the underneath shelf of my server, when she stood up & whacked her head. That's her 2nd forehead scratch. The first one (you can faintly see the white scar in the above photos) I think she did with her fingernail. It's tough being little!

It's crazy how much I adore this baby. She is so darn tootin' cute, I just can't get enough of her. Probably because there is strong possibility she is my last. Sigh. I think I'm trying to soak in every thing I can before this stage is gone forever.


Saturday is our annual 4th of July family reunion. This is always such a busy week, trying to line up clothes for everyone, food to cook/bake, snacks/drinks for all my miniatures, all necessities for the long (rarely are we home before midnight) day, etc. Well low & behold, hubby is headed to NY! Are you kidding me?! That means two days less for my obsessive compulsive behavior! ☺ He heads out tomorrow night, so graciously he is working from home tomorrow so I can run errands. Now one day less for my OCD. Thursday not much will be accomplished since he won't be home until midnight. That will leave us Friday, dead tired because I always wait up for him, to wrap up loose ends before scrambling around like chickens with our heads cutoff for Saturday's early departure. Wow. That was a long sentence. Did you get that?

Off to watch Tori & Dean! I think buying both of Tori's book are in store. :)

(Photos are snapshots! Except for the 1st one. :)

Friday, June 26, 2009


A little history, some of you may remember. A few years ago, Audi was very frightened of the water. At our annual July 4th family reunion, while all the other children swam, Audi hung out with the adults in the shade. It made me sad. That said, he was so scared of the water, I made the decision not to push him. Hubby insisted on swimming lessons. I said no way. I won. :) I don't believe in forcing children, I don't believe in tossing them in saying "sink or swim!" or any of that bs. Leave them alone & when they are ready, they will do it. With much less reluctance, to boot. After that July 4th, I came home & blogged about Audi's fear of swimming. The next day, he put on his life jacket, jumped in the pool, & has never looked back. ☺

Hubby got home early today & took the boys out back swimming while the girls & I napped. When I walked outside, I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Audi was swimming, without his life jacket! We have been talking with him about learning to swim without his life jacket but again, he was too fearful. We let it go. Today, without prompting, he took that sucker off & again - never looked back!

What amazes me the most is how well, at not even 5 1/2 years old, he is swimming! All across the deep end, completely unassisted (but being watched like a hawk, of course), swimming the width & entire length of the pool, like he had been doing it for months! And it had only been an hour or two, at the most! Ü

Audi's determination is so commendable. When he puts his mind to something - it may be on his terms & not ours - this child takes it to heart & gives it his all. If you recall, Audi has OCD which means when he does something, he's going to do it right. And he does. He doesn't settle for 'almost'. Audi is no slacker & anything but lazy. I am SO proud of him!!

I am excited to see where God takes this child. With Audi's determination & drive, there is nothing that will stop him & get in his way. If he stays with it, & never accepts or settles for less, life will take him further than he can imagine. How fun to travel this adventure with him, supporting him, as he dives straight into life!

Happy weekend!

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Took this of Bentley this evening. I'm shooting back in Jpeg - love RAW - however, I don't really care to spend the extra time editing in RAW. (This photo was actually taken in daylight - I edited it to look this dramatic. I ♥ it! :)

More photos tomorrow - such a sad, sad day today.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Last Sunday I was taking a quick nap & hubby was out cleaning the pool. The boys were supposed to be watching a movie. ;o)

When I got up, I noticed Audi had a red mark on his cheek. I asked him what happened & he said he fell & hit the stairs. Odd I thought, considering the stairs are carpeted. The mark wasn't that bad, so I let it go & summed it up to Audi being Audi. :)

As the days went on, his facial bruising was dramatically increasing. The fall ended up bruising his cheek, & ultimately he even ended up with a black eye! And because Audi is Audi, he was up entertaining Mercedes while she was in her crib one day & he tripped or fell or something, & banged his cheek in the very same spot on her crib rail! Which only made the bruising worse. His eye bruising is ceasing, but his cheek bruise is still very obvious.

On Thursday, because the bruising was so bad, I asked him to show me exactly where he fell. But first he said "well, I wasn't thinkin', & I was running, & slipped & smacked my face here!" as he showed the corner of the bottom step. Which is wood, not carpeted. I still don't know how that fall did that much damage. Only to my Audi, I suppose. ☺

Sunday, June 14, 2009

My family.

After a full day of this -

We did this -

And we'll be doing it all alot more often. ☺

I am so grateful for all of my blessings. It matters none that we have a pool in our backyard - all of us are blessed. Remember to thank God for all of your wonderful blessings!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Pretty pool.

New 6" tile & new plaster. The previous owner told us he had just had the pool replastered a few months before we bought the house. Another fib (verified by pool companies & neighbors). The plaster was probably the original - 14+ years old. He had had it acid washed, not replastered. Huge difference. Last summer was fine, but over the course of the fall & winter, it had deteriorated substantially. Hubby could no longer fight the chemicals to keep the water in balance. In addition to that, slowly but surely the tiny (original) tiles were starting to pop off one by one. That always made me giggle. ☺

So alas, we had no choice but to renovate. My long term goal, if we stay in this house, is to dig the pool up & start from scratch. I'd like to make it bigger & deeper. And get rid of the red coping. Maybe someday.

Baby steps. Baby steps. :)

Home sweet home.

We are flooding! And I am not kidding.

1.) Electricty went out @ 8:40 a.m.

2.) Loaded everyone up to leave - garage door won't open - no electricity!

3.) Pull both shoulders out of socket manually raising garage door!

4.) Put my imagination to use :) & used a plant hook to get garage door back down.

5.) Head to Sonic & drive around to kill time/check out storm damage.

6.) Cell phone rings - it's my dad. Very sweet. Very drunk. Sounding as if he was saying his final 'good-bye'....?

7.) Electric back on. We come home.

8.) Return to find water pouring out of an a/c vent?! Put towel & bucket underneath.

9.) Lock/gate everyone in formal living room 'wing' so they won't keep playing with bucket.

10.) Beautiful new pool dirty & overflowing, fortunately it has an overflow valve.

11.) Electricity off again.

12.) No tv (satellite) - movies only. Angry children.

13.) Electricity back on.

14.) Find water pouring in under the front door!

15.) Baby irate & screaming while dog yet again howls.

16.) Bentley discovers water pouring in from a light fixture, next to leaking a/c vent. Sweet!

17.) Decide to close garage door because of the torrential downpour.

18.) Open inside garage door to find big, huge soaking wet dog in our garage for shelter!

19.) Out of desperation, send all 4 children upstairs to play.

20.) OY!

21.) I just deleted my signature accidentally!

22.) OY!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

From strangers to friends.

Tonight we had a severe storm. We watched the news & we knew it was coming. Soon enough the storm hit & the sirens alarmed.

As the sirens sounded, someone firmly knocked on our door. Who in the world? As I was grabbing the keys, I looked thru the beveled glass. "Who is it?" I asked as I fumbled trying to unlock the door. "Please, ma'am, I'm scared, can I come in?" & as I peered out, I noticed a young lady holding a baby carrier.

I looked at hubby a tad hesitant because now-a-days, you have to be so careful. But we knew it was ok. I opened the door & invited her in.

She was a young, beautiful AA girl, probably 20, holding the most precious baby boy. I led her to our family room where she could put the baby down & sit out the storm with us. She had just left work when the storm hit & she was too frightened to continue driving home. She saw our lights on & stopped.

We had the most amazing time! Her name is Tiffany & her 9 month old baby boy is Tristan. We had the most delightful conversation for about an hour! We talked about her & her family, her upbringing, adoption, african american hair (LOL) & church! She actually attends the church we are contemplating visiting. And now we will. She is a doll! She played with the kids, my kids played with her & we all coo'ed over her cute baby boy.

Finally the storm broke. She sincerely thanked us - a quick hug good-bye & off she went. It's funny how God brings people together. And I am so thankful He directed her to our home. She was so young, & so pretty, holding that sweet baby boy - it makes me shiver to think if she would have stopped at the 'wrong' house.

God works in mysterious ways. And when you least expect it, you can bet your tush, He's going to send yet another blessing. ☺

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Truly, how does one cope?

The ironic thing about my dad's alcoholism is that as the years go by, this nightmare gets more difficult. And to me, that makes no sense. One would think it would get easier.

If you recall, in March I found my dad the most perfect place to call home, after he had been homeless for close to a week. He had been living out of his car, sleeping nights in the hospital parking lot for safety (I actually thought that was pretty brilliant) & basically spending his days in the Wal-Mart parking lot watching the passerbyers. (Gulp) Then as night fell, the routine started all over again as he headed towards the hospital.

It was at that point that our hearts could no longer take the pain of visualizing our father homeless & we once again came to his rescue. Because that's what children do. Right or wrong, good or bad, we love our dad & did what we felt best. With one understanding this time. No drinking. None. And low & behold, our dad agreed.

His desire was to live in a small, quaint town, that had some rolling hills (as rolling as Texas can get ;o), pretty scenery & out in the country. I had been on the internet searching for rentals. I happened to phone an ad regarding a travel trailer for rent - I tell no lies, it was in the very town my dad requested. We weren't going to fill dad's request; it just so happens, God did.

The owner of the trailer park is a wonderful Christian guy (met the man myself), who agreed to let my dad work for him, doing all the things my dad loves doing, & dad's rent would be altered to compensate for the work he did on the property. It was a win/win situation. Answered prayer.

I made the decision to talk to my father via the phone no more than once a month. Many reasons play into factor, but trust me, once a month is ample. I noticed my dad began leaving messages on my cell phone more often, & each time he was more intoxicated & he began badmouthing his landlord, I'll call 'J'. My dad is a pathological & habitual liar, & he's dillusional. All due to years of alcohol abuse. What that means is that when speaking with my father, you take everything with a grain of salt - flowing in one ear & out the other. 98% of what he speaks is the complete opposite of the truth. It's been that way for probably over 15 years. So I knew the nastiness he was divulging about J wasn't the slightest bit true. We all have come to the conclusion that my dad is not happy unless he is living in turmoil. It's crazy.

Recently when I've spoken w/ my dad, he's almost always drunk. I can barely make out anything he is saying. But I made out enough to know that the 'relationship' between himself & J was quickly deteriorating. Dad would continue to tell me he is living in a shack (how sweet is that, I found the place, I paid for the place, dad was homeless - yet he has the audacity to call a clean, spacious travel trailer, that has electricity, a kitchen, a toilet & a shower & a bedroom a "shack" to his daughter who so graciously spent her time & money securing his new home for him!) & then he would immediately trapse into deep, mean, cruel comments regarding J. Divulging information he would have no way of knowing - basically telling & spreading lies about a terrific guy who was helping my dad out.

One night last week my dad left me a message. Drunker than a skunk. I phoned my brother to see if dad had phoned him. My brother still has no contact with my dad, but occasionally dad will call him. My brother said no, dad didn't phone, but J did. Bingo. I now knew it was *on*.

I called my step-mother & spoke with her. She didn't know much, as she too is now isolating herself from my father yet again, because of his drinking and/or craziness. She did know, however, that J fired dad & informed dad he could leave (move out) at any time. And of course the J's actions are and were completely justified.

Sunday my dad phoned me unexpectedly - too bad for him, I had been up all the night before thinking of his situation & how yet again he has blown it - when I picked up the phone. I'm telling you - I blew him away. At this point with my dad, I hold nothing back. What in the crap do I have to lose? Someone needs to tell this man to grow up & stop acting like a 14 year old. And that's exactly what I did. I told him he has to cause trouble everywhere he goes & he just can't shut up & live a happy life. I told him anything & everything about J was none of his stinkin' business. I told him he is the most ungrateful person I have ever known. He hung up on me. :)

Monday (yesterday) I spoke with J in depth. He is such a nice, nice guy. I am embarrassed & ashamed of myself that I have put him (J) in this situation. But I did. So I will do what I can to help him. After all my dad has put him thru for the last 3 months, J wanted to say nothing negative about my dad. I explained to him that it was ok - I've been thru this for 30 years now & we all already know all there is to know. Still hesitant, he told me my dad is falling daily & he is very concerned about my dad's safety/health. He also is concerned that my dad takes tons of medications daily & is mixing those meds with alcohol. And he is concerned that my dad is driving drunk. He then went on to tell me that when my dad was collecting rent money, he was keeping it for himself. And then because my dad is very angry with him, dad is leaving very belligerent phone messages (received 100s of these myself) on J's phone. So much that J has saved them all & he can't even take his phone in the house at night. And then of course he told me that dad has got all J's other tenants mad at him so..."it's just not working out & he needs to find somewhere else to live". The thing came as a shock to me, is that J is still willing to help my dad. He told me where we can purchase that very same trailer for an inexpensive amount of money & he informed me of some locations we could put it. Or, he said he would be willing to box up my dad's personal belongings & rent him a motel room & put his belongings in the room for him. Such a wonderful, thoughtful person whose name has been drug thru the mud, thanks to my selfish, ungrateful, drunk father. And now my selfish, ungrateful, drunk father, again, has no where to live.

I phoned my step-mother & my brother & both of them told me they ain't helping. I don't blame them. I understand. I'm not angry with them in the slightest. But here's this wonderful guy who was nice enough to help my dad, so I feel obligated to do what I can to help him. Which isn't much. But I could try.

My dad phoned me last night to tell me Happy Birthday & I told him we needed to talk. He immediately got angry, very defensive, told me he is not moving, no one can make him, & he was not going to discuss anything. He hung up on me & that was the end of that. I took a deep, heavy sigh.

I sat outside peeking in, at my family all around the dinner table, eating the birthday dinner my husband so graciously brought home for my birthday. I wasn't at the table. At that very moment, it's almost as if someone threw a brick at me & hit me in the head.

What am I doing???

When I talked to my dad on the phone on Sunday, even though I went outside, my children heard bits & pieces. That infuriates me. Yesterday. My birthday. Not really a big deal to me, but it is to my children. Children are children. And they sat & ate my dinner, while I was outside on the phone. My poor babies who don't understand why I was outside on the phone while they ate my birthday dinner.

You all that have followed me have heard me say this 100 times. I had to live a childhood with alcoholism. My children do not. I had no choice. But, it is up to me, their mother, to protect them & keep them from witnessing such sad, selfish & self-destructive behavior. They don't need to see me upset. My time will no longer be taken away from them while I sit on the phone. My time will no longer be spent on this solutionless situation. I am so thankful that I am fully aware & that I can see my dad's alcoholism is starting to creep into my family life. Because I won't tolerate it any further.

I will phone J back in a few minutes & tell him I attempted to talk with my dad. I will then tell him to do whatever he sees fit to get my dad off his property, but I'll recommend he get the sheriff to help and/or witness. My dad won't go willingly. More than likely, my dad will get physical & destructive.

I don't know when or how this nightmare will end. But someday it will. My dad will pass away, & it won't be good. He will either die a slow, suffering death like the incident that almost claimed his life in Oct. '06, and/or he will die in a car accident, all the while we pray he kills no innocent people as he drives around drunk. Or heck, he could fall hard enough to hit his head just right. However it happens, we are all already prepared. And as sad as it is, & I know you can't begin to understand why or how I could possibly say this - that day can't come soon enough.

I don't know how to cope anymore. Everyone says "just let it go, there is nothing you can do." But now I know my dad is homeless again. In 100+ degree Texas summer heat. How can a person let it go?

Here's my decision. This is where I must again grab onto faith, pray like the dickens, take control of my life & my happiness, & let go. Wish me luck.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Breaking in between bike riding to play his Nintendo. Sweet. Sweet boy. ♥

(Photo RAW, edited in CS3. All photos will be this format unless otherwise stated. :)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Take time to smell the roses.

Or in his case, Indian Paintbrushes. :)

Happy weekend!

(Photo RAW & barely edited in CS3)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

New size(s)?

This is Bentley on the trails a few weeks ago. He was taking a rest while waiting for the rest of us. He looks like he is in deep thought. I thought this shot was precious. ☺

This of Jaguar is the adjusted size of the photo below. I have to say, I love the clarity in the larger photos, but this will suffice. :)

I broadened my template & now these particular sizes work. The downside is, you can't click on these to view them in their original size. What you see is what you get. However, they are substantially larger than past images, so it works for me.

Her eye met the couch.

Hang in there while I figure this out. This will take some time because I can't devote undivided attention. But hey -

Look at this photo! I know part of it is cut off, & I don't particularly care to have them this large, but how beautiful is she??? I say that often about her, don't I? Look at all those gorgeous, natural, spiral curls! ☺

For now, I will leave as is while I do more research. What I'm trying to accomplish is larger photos with as minimal steps as possible. Several ways I can do this, but it takes time to read all the information.

Photo taken & edited in RAW. I think me & RAW might just get along after all. The possibilities in RAW are endless. The only reason I appreciate RAW, at this time, is for all the funky options. In this particular photo, I changed/updated no camera settings. Just the fun stuff. :)