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Life In Texas

Life In Texas: November 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tuesday Testament - Thanksgiving

     We all have things that we are thankful for. Especially now, during the Thanksgiving season, we find ourselves being thankful for all of the obvious things. Good health, a house, family, did to ready, clothes to wear.

     But what about the less obvious things? What about the things that, at first don't (or don't ever) look like blessings?

     Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. - 1 Thessalonians 5:18

     It's not "give thanks when things go good". We're suppose to give thanks in all circumstances. Believe me, I know how tough that can be. I run my van into a ditch. My child has, yet another, unknown medical problem. My mother passes away from cancer at the age 42. But there is a way to be thankful in all of these instances.

     Yes, I ran the van into a ditch. But, thankfully, everyone was ok. Thankfully, the van is fine. Thankfully, there were wonderful neighbors there to help me.

     Yes, my child has more unknown medical problems. Thankfully, she's still here. Thankfully, she's not in pain or suffering. Thankfully, we have the technology to test and find out what's wrong.

     This last one is a little harder. Yes, my mom died from cancer at age 42. Thankfully, she's no longer suffering. Thankfully, she got 2.5 years with my baby brother. Thankfully, she got to meet and know my children. Thankfully, she was a Christian and I will see her again one day.

     It's easy to be thankful when things are going good. I think that true test is to be thankful when things aren't so great. You may be suffering, but there is a chance that your experience will be able to help out someone in the same situation.

     I hope that you'll think about these things this Thanksgiving as you gather with your family and/or friends.

     I'd like to leave you with one last scripture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. - Psalm 100:4

     I hope that you all have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving. Be careful while traveling and enjoy your holiday!

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Too Much Excitement

     Yesterday was way too much excitement for me.

     The day started at 5:30 am (should have been 5, but I reset the alarm clock for 5:30). Thing 2 had to have an EEG and an EKG and they wanted her sleep deprived so that she would sleep through the tests. If kids that age aren't sleep deprived, then they usually have to sedate them to get them to cooperate. They like to avoid sedation if at all possible.

     At 7:30, we woke up Thing 1 and they took a bath. We got dressed and had breakfast. Then it was time to leave. We took Thing 1 to a friends house. Thing 2, being grumpy and sleep deprived, started crying when she realized that she wasn't getting to stay. Then came the one hour car ride. Have you ever tried to keep a sleep baby awake in the car? Every 5 minutes, I was reaching back there and tapping on her leg while saying "Wake up, Baby. You can sleep when we get there."

     We finally get to the hospital (without her actually falling asleep). We were 30 minutes early, but we had to register. They were shocked that we were early to register. Apparently, most people think that an 11am appointment means that you get to the hospital exactly at 11. They were pleased that I was early, but surprised. When we got into the EEG room (just a few minutes after 11), they had Disney Junior on the TV. They had me sit in a chair with Thing 2 in my lap. She stared at the TV the entire time they were taping sensors to her. When they needed her to move, I moved her and she never took her eyes off of the TV. It was a long test. We watched an entire episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and a good portion of Pocahontas before we were finally finished. She never fell asleep.

     As soon as the EEG was finished, we headed straight to the EKG room. Thing 2 was a little hesitant about this one because she had to sit on the bed by herself. I could sit next to her, but I couldn't hold her (not enough room). The nurse was very good about getting her calmed down. She explained to Thing 2 what she was going to do. Then, she reexplained as she did it. Thing 2 was watching intently and calmed down. The nurse ran one practice test to make sure that everything was working good. When that one came out, she handed it to Thing 2 and asked her to read it to her. Thing 2 said "Up, down, up, down, up, down.", as she moved her finger along on of the lines. She "read" us the results for the next 5 minutes while the nurse ran the test 2 more times and the results printed.

Thing 2 reading the results
     After we were finished, we hit a drive through for lunch (it was 1pm!) and headed home. As soon as we got back to town, we went to get Thing 1. When we got there, Thing 2 wanted to play, so we stayed for a bit. At about 3:15, I loaded the kids in the car and headed home. It's important to note that these particular friends live on a tiny (barely 2 lane) road with 5' deep ditches on each side. They recently put gravel on each side of the road in an attempt to "widen the road". I stopped at the end of their driveway, then accelerated as I turned. The tires on the passenger side hit the gravel on the right side of the road. They then (in an attempts to make all the times move together), started spinning faster. This shot the van towards the wrong side of the road. I hit the breaks, but the front tires were already on the gravel on the other side of the road. So, the tires stopped spinning, but we started to slide. And we slid right into that 5' deep ditch. I managed to not hit the other side of the ditch and to not flip the van over (the cop said I deserve a medal because he doesn't know how I did it). I immediately called my Dad, who left work and came right over. Before he got there, my friend called. And I said (all nonchalantly), "I drove my van into the ditch in front of your house." They don't technically live in town so it's a bit of a distance from their house to the gate. She was shocked, but immediately sent her husband (my cousin) out to help. As he stopped, so did a local doctor. The girls and I were still in the van because I was afraid that if we tried to get out, I would tip it over. My cousin and the doctor propped the van so that we could safely get out. After we were out and they knew that everyone was ok, the doctor went on his way and my cousin called the sheriff's office. They deputy (that I know) showed up and called a wrecker (I know the owner) to come get me out. The rest of a long story short, about an hour after I drove it into the ditch, it was out. The wrecker service was able to get it out without tipping it over. The girls and I were fine because we were all properly restrained. The van is fine. Not a scratch or dent. Nothings broken and it's driving just like normal. The only thing that was a problem was there was some grass and dirt embedded in my tire. I took it to the tire center and they fixed it right away (the owner goes to my church).  Thank God for small towns and for looking out for me yesterday.

That's my van in the ditch.
The tow truck had just gotten there and they were discussing the best way to get it out.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thing 1's 4th Birthday Party

     Thing 1's party was a great success and actually, not that stressful. Mostly what she asked for were Barbies, so she got a LOT of Barbies. Below are a few pictures. She had a great time.

Thing 1 with her Bell cake

Opening presents

Daddy reading her the card

Playing with her new ponies

"The toy I've always wanted!"

Excited about her sandwich cutter

Pinata time!

Thing 2's turn

Playing Barbies with her cousins

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Diamond Candles

     A few weeks ago, I heard about Diamond Candles on Cafemom. I was intrigued by the idea. For those of you that haven't heard of them, Diamond Candles are soy candles made with all natural soy. Each candle comes in a glass jar that they encourage you to reuse. In each candle is a ring ranging from $10 - $5000 in value. The rings are in a plastic baggie and then wrapped in foil to protect them. Some of the rings, of course, are costume jewelry. However, the candle itself is worth the price.

     For fun - let's compare Diamond Candles, Yankee Candles and Circle E Candles.

          Diamond Candles               Yankee Candles               Circle E Candles
Price: 24.95 + $5 shipping           25.99 + $5 shipping                $21.50 
                                                                                           (plus tax, plus shipping - 
                                                                                       wouldn't let me view shipping
                                                                                          charge without entering 
                                                                                              credit card info)

Burn time:  125 - 160                          110-150                           155
(in hours)

     In my opinion, Diamond Candles wins. Yankee Candles cost the most and burn the least amount of times. Circle E Candles may be cheaper overall, but I wish I knew how much it cost to ship them. So, I ordered a Diamond Candle. It arrived quickly. I ordered it Saturday and it arrived this morning via the USPS. I was very excited. I immediately opened it, snapped a few pictures and then lit it.

     This is my candle. I ordered vanilla cream. Vanilla is my scent of choice. However, this is different than all of the other vanilla stuff I own. I guess it's the "cream" part. It smells like vanilla with a faint but pleasant coffee smell. I am not a fan of the smell of coffee, but this candle smelled good enough to eat.

      The gold circle is where my ring was. I have seen videos and heard of women digging their rings out when they're close to the top. I am too OCD for that. I would hate to have a huge hole in my candle. So, I was pleased that it was close to the top. It took a little more than 4 hours for the tip of the foil to be visible. At this time, I was able to get a spoon and pull it out without damaging my candle.

     This is my ring. It has 3 purple stones surrounded by 10 clear stones. I snapped this picture with my cell phone in the sunlight. It kind of makes the stones look dark blue, but they are amethyst in color.

     Overall, I am very pleased with my Diamond Candle. I had it burning for about four hours earlier. I blew it out and we left the house for 3 hours. When we returned, we could still smell that wonderful vanilla cream smell. I can not wait to order my next one! Diamond Candles does not advertise, so if you order a candle and you love it, be sure to tell your friends! Diamond Candles would make great Christmas presents, I know of a few women that will be receiving one from me. :-)

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Activities

     We had a very busy weekend. On Friday, we went to Zoo Boo (trick or treating at the zoo). On Saturday, we had Thing 1's second birthday party (pictures and post coming soon!). Sunday we carved pumpkins and Monday was Halloween. For Halloween, we did safe trick or treating and traditional trick or treating. Below are pictures and details of each event. I hope you enjoy!

Zoo Boo
     This is the second year that we've gone to Zoo Boo. We go to the zoo often, so we really go to Zoo Boo for the crafts and the trick or treating. I was a little disappointed that there weren't many booths set up (only 5) and they didn't have any crafts (even though it was on the poster). They shut all of the animals out of their shelters so that they couldn't hide. So, we did get to see literally every animal, which rarely happens. The kids had a great time! Their favorite part was petting and feeding the goats.

Scout and Thing 2 walking into the zoo

Thing 2 feeding the goats

Thing 1 feeding the goats

Scout and Thing 1

     So, at about 4pm on Sunday, my cousin and I decided that we wanted to carve pumpkins with the kids. Can you say last minute? So we ran to the one grocery store in our town. They didn't have any. We then had 3 options if we still wanted pumpkins. We could go north east, north west or south. I called the Wal-Mart and H-E-Bs in the towns to the north, neither town had any pumpkins. So, we headed south. As we were driving I called Wal-Mart and H-E-B in 3 more towns. No pumpkins! We kept driving anyway. There is a 4 way stop (the way to get to the 3 other towns I called) where people sit and sell produce. We decided to see if they had pumpkins and if they didn't we were going to keep going and get some sort of Halloween/fall craft at closest Wal-Mart. Luckily, there was one produce vendon at the 4 way stop that had pumpkins. He didn't have many left, be we managed to find 4 good sized pumpkins that were in good shape. We only needed three, but he talked us into buying 4. He was a good salesman. When we got home, the mosquitoes were terrible so we decided to carve pumpkins in the house. I thought that it would be disaster, but it was Scout's idea and he assured me that it would be fine. He was right. We put down a tarp (of course) and no pumpkin guts got on my carpet.

Thing 1 scooping out guts

Thing 2 pushing out the eye
of her pumpkin

Thing 2 cutting out the mouth

Scout and Thing 1 carving her pumpkin

Thing 2's and Thing 1's pumpkins, all lit up

Safe Trick or Treating
     Safe trick or treating, for those of you that don't know, is an event sponsored by the local police department. In our town, local businesses sign up and you can then go by there and trick or treat. Most of the businesses are located downtown (near the police station). You can pick up maps, lists of participating businesses and bags at the police department. However, it was terrible. I was surprised at the number of "adults" that would push pre-schoolers out of the way just so that their child could get 1 piece of free candy. I didn't get many pictures because there were so many people just trying to push you out of the way to get to the next business. However, my soon-to-be step-mother's office was participating so we stopped to snap a quick picture with her. By the times that we got to her, both of the kids had been pushed down and Thing 1 just wanted to go home. It was sad that they were tired of it so soon because it could have been a wonderful experience.

Thing 1, Granny K, and Thing 2

Traditional Trick or Treating
     Traditional trick or treating was a blast. We went to houses of people that we know, but still managed to hit a few dozen houses (yay for church family and fire fighters!). Someone scared Thing 2 by accident, poor kid. A teenager bent over right in Thing 1's face while wearing a scary mask. I said "Yeah, scare her on purpose. That's really nice." I guess he forgot that he was wearing the mask, because he was very sorry.  Other than that, a quote from my cousin-in-law sums it up best. 

"Halloween - the holiday when lazy parenting gurus decide it's safe to show off their skills in public." 

     I didn't get pictures because I had to make sure that people didn't run my kids over, but here is one I snapped when we got home.

Thing 2, Cousin's Kid, Thing 1

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