Monday, September 29, 2008


Friday we had Decota's birthday party. We had no idea how many girls would come (it seems they are to old to RSVP now), or how many Decota had invited for that matter (every time I turned around I had to make "just one more invitation"). When 6:00 arrived we were suddenly invaded by 17 excited girls. Decota had been pretty bummed this year because she wanted to go camping for her birthday, and due to the fact that I was having surgery 2 days before her birthday, that was impossible. She then thought it would be great to pitch tents in the backyard and have a camp out at home, which I would have automatically said "nope" to, but Rodney beat me by saying it was a great idea. We told her 12 girls would be a great number to invite- but you know Decota the social bug. How was she supposed to weed out so many and limit herself to 12. In the end I think she invited about 18 (Cambria was not invited this year, but she was fine with it because she got to have a spend the night at her friend's house instead). As all of the girls arrived they seemed genuinely excited to be camping out (this was some girls first time ever in a tent!). We had 2 big tents set up in the backyard. As everyone arrived they all staked claims to the places they wanted to sleep in the tents. Soon we had the fire pit going and the girls were all roasting hot dogs. They loved running around the backyard and exploring the greenbelt. After awhile we corralled them back together and opened gifts (and talk about getting SPOILED- whew) and ate cake and ice cream (her cake had a big lantern on it for her). As it got dark they went out front and played flashlight tag. We eventually hauled them back to the backyard to watch the old parent trap movie we had set up on the deck. Some stayed and watched for a bit and snacked on candy and popcorn, while others played games by flashlight on the tramp. Others (including my daughter) ran off to harass boys on the phone. In the end, Rodney and I were the only ones who watched the whole movie (and I loved it every bit as much as I did when I was a kid). After the movie we gathered together again for S'mores and hot chocolate- can you say sugar rush! They played until about 11:00ish, and then started making their way to the tents for bed. One tent fell right asleep, the other tent (of course the one Decota was in) was up all night talking. They were quite loud, so I was very glad my neighbors were out of town. At about 2:00 someone threw-up (I think a combo of being so tired and eating so much junk), which slowed things down a bit. Three girls decided to come inside and sleep on the floor, and the rest went back to the tent and went to sleep- FINALLY. At 7:00 I heard the 1st group of girls start to stir, so I got up and started breakfast. By 7:15 everyone was up and playing in the backyard. We had a great camp breakfast of eggs, hash browns, bacon, and orange juice. I started cleaning up after breakfast, and the girls continued to play until the last person was picked up at 10:00. I kept being told that it was the "greatest slumber party ever". Now I don't know about that, (especially after seeing my friend Laura Krey's Japanese party she threw for her daughter Siena) but it was a pretty fun party. I think Decota really enjoyed herself, and that her friends did too. I am so glad that Rodney was there to say "yes" to the party idea so that my automatic "no" did not interfere. I need to keep that in mind the next time I automatically say "no" to something, at least long enough to really think about it. Now Cambria wants a super fun party. I guess I have 6 months to recoup and come up with an idea! (Anyone got any?)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

My Favorite Teddy Bear- Danny!

I always think of my Father-in-law as a big Teddy Bear. He is just someone you are comfortable around, feel comforted by, and can just squeeze. I LOVE my father-in-law. He is just one of them "good ol' boys". There are so many good qualities to talk about with him, but this year I am going to focus on his service. I can think of no other person quite like him. He reminds me of one of those me I grew up watching on "Little House on the Prairie". You know the type. The one that somehow always shows up to someones house when the need a hand with something. Someone that pulls up in his tractor or truck when there is hard labor to be done. Someone that checks in on children and the elderly when no one else may be checking in on them. Always running from work, to the farm, to helping someone down the road, to mending fences, bailing hay, and then attending a funeral- ALL IN THE SAME DAY. Yep- that's right- I have Charles Inglis for a father-in-law (and might I just add that I had the biggest crush on Charles when I was a kid- he was just so cute and so good). He is constantly go-go-going. With all that he has going, he never makes an excuse not to serve. I am constantly amazed at all that he does for others. It is never for recognition, never for ego, never for praise- it is just purely out of love. Danny is the most loving, caring, giving man because he gives of himself. You want an example? -Ok- When Rodney and I moved to Texas he flew out Utah and bought a truck from Alicia's husband to help them get out from under it. Then he drove to New Mexico and helped us haul everything down to Texas. He went home and fulfilled some responsibilities at his stores, and then headed to Mississippi to help clean up after Hurricane Katrina hit. When he was done there, he headed back down to Dallas to help us move all of our things in. This all took place in a WEEK! Boy do I feel crummy for grumbling about being asked to make someone dinner twice a year. Service is just a part of Danny. He will never stop serving because that is who he is. I admire his selflessness so much. I want so badly to be more like him. I would like to bless my family through service the way he has blessed us through his. This year I will try to be more willing to jump at the chance to serve; to not look at it as a burden to me, but as an opportunity to lift someone else's load. I love my father-in-law. I KNOW I scored when I got him. I am so lucky that my husband was raised with this wonderful man as his ultimate role model. I am lucky that my children have him for a grandfather. I hope they will know and understand all of the wonderful things he has done to make others lives better! Happy Birthday Danny- I Love You!

(His real Birthday is September 26th, I did not forget him, I am just getting around to writing about him)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

It's so nice not to be a single parent

I can't even tell you how nice it has been today to have Rodney home. Just to have him around for a bit of conversation throughout the day is so nice. To have him helping me out with life's little tasks is AWESOME. The simplest thing, like him letting the dog in when he is scratching at the door (which happens to be a dreaded chore since we wash his feet and wipe his butt every time he comes in), just makes my day. But the help with the BIG chores, that rocks! I desperately needed to go to the grocery store today. Of course when it came time to check out there were no lanes open without 5 people in them. I knew I would never be able to check out in time to pick Cambria up from choir. A quick phone call to my sweetheart and he is off and running to get her. As I walked out the door to take Decota to dance tonight, he offered to drop her off so I could finish unloading groceries. He then decided to take Cambria and Declan to their soccer practices so that he could watch them, thus making my only responsibilities for the night picking Decota up from dance, picking up his prescription from the pharmacy (he went to the Dr today and has a nasty ear infection), and getting dinner ready. I can't even begin to tell you how laid back and easy my night has felt. I don't know how single parents do it. It is so nice to have the help and support of your sweetie when your are worn out. Not to mention the added bonus of a little kissey-kissey-smoochy-smoochy when he is around! I hope I never have to do the single parent thing on a permanent basis. Thanks Rodney for all of the help, and for being the best!

A week in my shoes

Here is a schedule of my week this past week. Although I do not do everything that I did this week every week, there always seems to be something extra that comes up!

7:00am- Up to get everyone ready for church, and Rodney out the door and to the airport.
12:30pm- Home from church, time for lunch and rest.
4:00pm- To the hospital to visit an elderly lady in the ward
5:30pm- Home to make a quick dinner and gather the kids up
6:15pm- Off to a missionary open house for a good friend of ours
8:30pm- Back home to fix a snack before bed and start laundry
10:00pm- Kids FINALLY to bed- Laundry and get ready for the new week time
11:30pm- Phone call from Rodney to let me know the Cowboys won. Off to bed to read scriptures and fall asleep.
6:30am- Up and at 'em
7:30am- Everyone down for breakfast and family scripture study
8:00am- Get kids off to school and work on laundry and the house
9:30am- Visiting teaching
11:00am- Pre-op appointment for my surgery
12:00pm- Pick Decota up from school for rheumatologist appointment (with a quick lunch at Decota's favorite Thai place on the way)
1:30pm- At the hospital for the appointment
4:00pm- Home from the hospital with a great check up
5:00pm- Dinner
5:45-6:45pm- Watch Decota's ballet class so I can address some of her concerns
6:45pm- Dishes and laundry
8:00pm- Pick Decota up from jazz
9:00pm- Get girls to bed
10:00pm- Finish helping Declan with homework (he has been working on it most of the night) and get him off to bed (he is pooped)- then work on laundry
11:30pm- Laundry done, off to study scriptures and get to bed
6:00am- Alarm goes off, but I hit snooze until 6:32. Get up and the kids and I ready for school.
7:30am- Breakfast and family scripture study
8:00am- Off to school for everyone. I work in the Autism room at the Middle School today.
4:00pm- The girls and I are done with school and ready to go home and work on their homework.
5:00pm- Quick dinner and off to Declan's football game.
7:30pm- Take the girls home because they have been fighting and have lost the right to watch the other football game.
9:00pm- Get girls to bed and go to pick up Declan from the field house.
11:00pm- Finish helping Declan with his homework and get him to bed. Start picking up the house.
12:00am- Off to bed to read scriptures and go to sleep.
6:00am- Time to wake up, but once again hit snooze until 6:32. Get kids up and going.
7:30am- Breakfast and family scripture study
8:00am- Everyone off to school. Today I teach 8th grade science.
11:30am- Rodney calls to tell me he made it home.
2:15pm- I do not end up having 7th & 8th period classes so I go home to get cookies baked for Court of Honor tonight.
4:00pm- Pick girls up from school and take them to the library and to Wal-mart.
5:00pm- Pick Declan up from football practice.
5:30pm- Dinner- yum, roast, potatoes, carrots and rolls tonight!
6:30 pm- Court of Honor for Scouting
8:00pm- Leave court of honor and get Decota to a private ballet lesson to help her feel more confident with somethings she is feeling intimidated by. (It is so sweet of her teacher to do this for her)
9:00pm- Home from ballet, and time to get the girls to bed. Rodney has Declan started on his homework, so I take over.
10:30pm- Send Declan to bed because he is so tired he can not finish. I am pooped also so I get scripture reading done and get ready for bed.
1:00am- I finally make it to bed after I end up hanging out with Rodney.
6:00am- Alarm goes off, but today I hit snooze until 7:04. Rush everyone around to get ready. 7:30am- Breakfast, Declan still has so much homework that we skip scripture study and let him finish.
8:15am- Declan is done and everyone is off to school.
9:00am- Sit down to make meal plan for the next 2 weeks and get shopping list done.
11:30am- Take Rodney to the Dr. (His ear is killing him)- of course he has an ear infection. They also schedule him for a physical because he has been having muscle spasms a lot, and show signs of hypoglycemia or early diabetes.
12:30pm- LUNCH (I'm starving today!)
2:30pm- Shopping list is finally finished. Off to Wal-mart for stage 1 of grocery shopping.
4:00pm- Still in line at Wal-mart and need to pick up the Decota. Thank goodness Rodney is home and can go get her for me.
4:45pm- Pick Cambria up from choir
5:00pm- Pick Declan up from football
5:20pm- Have Decota to dance (luckily Rodney volunteered to take her so I could put up groceries)
6:00pm- Rodney took Declan and Decota to soccer so I could go get his prescription filled.
6:15pm- Pick Decota up from Dance and take her to get her birthday party favors and pick-up Rodney's prescription.
7:00pm- Back home and getting dinner ready
8:00pm- Rodney and the kids are back and ready to eat, Declan starts homework
9:00pm- Girls are down to bed
10:30pm- Declan is too tired to do anymore homework and goes to bed
11:30pm- I am done! Scripture study and bed!
6:00am- Alarm goes off and I am up- much to do today!
7:30am- Everyone is down for breakfast and scripture study. Declan is doing last minute cramming.
8:15am- Drop Declan and Cambria off at school and take Decota to Scottish Rite for her hospital eye appointment.
10:00am- A quick and easy day at the Dr. Everything looks good! Off to Sam Moon with Decota to pick out a couple birthday party presents for her friends.
11:00am- Sam's Club for the 2nd stage of grocery shopping
12:30pm- Unloading groceries, making lunch, making Decota's cake, and picking up the house.
1:00pm- Visiting teachers come by for a visit.
1:45pm- Take Decota back to school and start setting up for her birthday party.
3:30pm- One more last trip to Wal-mart for forgotten items!
4:00pm- Pick everyone up from school and give them assignments to help finish getting ready for the party.
6:00pm- Party starts- Here come 17 girls!
11:30pm- Get girls in their tents to go to sleep.
2:00am- Finally go to bed when girls calm down and go to sleep!
7:00am- Up to make breakfast for a swarm of starving girls, slowly clean up.
8:00am- Rodney takes Declan to the soccer field to ref 3 games.
10:00am- Party is over! Time to get Decota ready for her next party.
10:30am- Off to the Galleria to drop Decota off at her friends party.
11:00am- Rodney takes Cambria to her soccer game (They win!)
12:00pm- I make it to Declan's field to watch his game.
1:30pm- Rodney and Cambria make it to see the 2nd half of Declan's game.
2:30pm- Head home to shower the kids and make lunch
3:30pm- Leave the house to pick Decota up from her party.
4:30pm- Meet up with Rodney and the kids to get Declan new goalie gloves
5:30pm- Take the kids to Western Days in Lewisville to see the Eli Young Band in concert.
8:00pm- Go to Chili's for dinner- pretty tired at this point.
9:30pm- Get everyone home and kids in bed (it only takes them a couple seconds to fall asleep)
10:00pm- Sit down to watch the news- just passing time so I can watch Saturday Night Live
10:30pm- Watch the first sketch, and then wake up at 11:00 and realize I need to go to bed.
11:00pm- Dead to the world- It was a long week!

Now when I wonder what I have accomplished in a week I can look at this list and see that I do get some things done. My cupboards and drawers may not be as organized as I would like, but I have not just sat around all week eating Bon-Bons. Maybe this will help me not feel so guilty for taking time out for me.


I do not know why I was so pooped last night, but I was. I was too tired to even write a quick snippet. After 6 hours of sleep I am feeling much better, yet I have a laundry list of things to do today. I have decided to post a one week schedule of my life so I can remember how I spent my days. Tonight I will journal better!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Decota decided to exclude Cambria tonight at the football game. While she was running around with her friends she told Cambria to "Go Away" because it was annoying to have her near by. As soon as Declan's game was over I made the girls leave with me, making them skip out on the "A" team game, and grounded Decota from running around with her friends at the next game. She was furious with Cambria for telling on her and got pretty snotty to me. She had no shame in admitting that it was annoying to turn around and see her sister standing right next to her. I have explained so many times to Decota that many of her friends are actually closer to Cambria's birthday then hers, and that Cambria should be her friend also. When I reminded her of that she simply said "I bet you did not let your sisters hang out with you. I'm sure you thought they were annoying and made them leave you alone. I have heard all about you and I know you were a bigger brat then me." I don't know if it was the tone of her voice or the truthfulness of what she said, but it flew all over me. I was so angry I threatened to cancel her Birthday Party this weekend. I had to call Rodney and have him get involved. Lucky for Decota and I, Rodney has a magical way of calming us both down and making us see eye to eye. After our phone call with him we were able to talk it out, and Decota felt remorseful for being such a brat to her sister, and for being disrespectful to me. They really do love each other, sometimes they just have to be reminded of it. I know I was MEAN to my sisters, especially Brittani. I wish I could take it all back. I want my girls to know what a treasure they have in their sister. I LOVE my sisters! They are my BEST FRIENDS. I know that my kids treat each other better than I treated my siblings, and yet we still have a great relationship. I just do not want them to ever do anything to hurt that bond. I guess being a girl only helps add to the family drama! Sisters!

Monday, September 22, 2008


My Funk-a-licious sister Chelsey turned 31 today (how did she get to be older than me- one of life's great mysteries). Chelsey is so fun. She is someone you can get wild and crazy with. She will still dance with you in the middle of a crowded parking lot just to embarrass your kids or make people look. She always makes you laugh when you are around her, and nieces and nephews love her. She made me crack up the other day when she told me she had been watching too much Mystery Diagnosis on the Discovery Health Channel. This is not a good idea for her. As a child Chels did nightly body scans of her body checking for bruises, scrapes, lumps and bumps. By the time she was 8 I think she had diagnosed herself with cancer 5 times. She is not such a hypochondriac anymore, yet you never know what a show like that could do to her. I can just see it now -Harley walks in the house one day with a heart shaped bruise on her forearm, and within 10 minutes Chels has diagnosed her with some rare ware wolf-like genetic mutation only previously found in Bulgaria. (J/K- kind-of) Maybe it was that paranoia of sickness that has made her such a wonderful nurturer. Chelsey is the kind of mom that you only see in shows like Leave It To Beaver- only with a funky outfit and a little bit of crazy going down. She gets up in the morning and lovingly sends her husband off to work after she has made him breakfast, way before it should be legal for people to open their eyes. She spoils you when you are sick, making sure you are comfortable and have everything you need. She picks little things up for everyone all the time just because she "saw it and thought of you", making you feel special because you were on her mind. She listens to you when you want to brag, or cry, and takes your side no matter how stupid your side is. She is not afraid to get in her grubby clothes and sit on her butt and watch movies all day with you, and not feel guilty about it. She always makes people feel comfortable around her. I have looked at her SO many times and wished I could be as compassionate as her. She draws people to her because she is so fun, but they stay around because they can feel that she cares. This year I will try to be more like Chelsey and be more nurturing to my family and friends. I will try to be a little less selfish, and give some of that self to others. I probably need to work on this the most with my own family- especially Rodney. Chelsey just seems to have that natural programming to be the mother bear defending her husband and young. This year I will become more of a bear, too. GRRRRRR! Happy Birthday Chelsey! I think our family got the best present on your birthday though- We got you!!

Asher Boy

What would salsa be without the jalapenos? What would eggs be without the pepper? What would an oatmeal cookie be without the cinnamon? Everything needs a little spice. For the Allred family that spice comes in the form of Asher. Today is Asher's Birthday. I can't believe that he is already 2 years old! I can't wait to see him in the peak of his terrible 2's (like an Allred child could be that terrible). It's not that I want to see Brittani fight him, it's just that his little tantrums crack me up! When he is flailing to the floor (and might I add, ever so carefully so as not to hurt his head), and then throws his temper tantrum on the floor, I just want to bust out laughing. It is too cute. He is going to be such a fun one to watch. He can give you these big, flirty eyes one minute, and then shoot you daggers the next. I LOVE that he already has the pouty face down. He is a true blue ham. I am so glad I get to be his aunt and watch him grow up. Happy Birthday Asher, Aunt Nelly LOVES you!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

My Secret Affair!

Oh weekend, why must you leave me so soon. It will be 5 long days until we can meet again, my love. Until that time I will be dreading every day that I must wake up at 6:00 to get the kids ready for school. I will loathe putting lunches in a sack and sending them with my children to school, where I can't even converse with them as they consume it. I will worry all day that my kids are not getting enough water and snacks while they are at school (how is a mind supposed to learn and a body supposed to grow when you only get to eat at lunch?). I will watch the needle on my gas gauge quickly go from pointing to the right to pointing to the left as I taxi everyone to all of their events. I will worry about dinner being a rushed event, and whether I made a nutritionally balanced enough meal for three growing kids. I will stress over the amount of homework the kids are sent home with, and sit by them as they do it, just for moral support. As I tuck the kids in bed each night I will wonder if I spent enough quality time with them, and if they felt my love for them that day. And just when I think I can take no more- YOU WILL ARRIVE! When you come you will bring me carefree days, soccer games in the sun, a couple hours more of rest, easy meals, TV time, time to play outside, and time for fun with my family. However, just as I feel rejuvenated, you will leave me again- this, I am afraid, is the sad story of our love affair. Once again, just like every other week of my life, I will be waiting impatiently for you, longing for your arrival. I know I can not have you always, for if I did my love for you would not be the same. So instead of morn for what can never be, I will be content and grateful for the time I do get to spend with you as I look forward to our rendezvous again. Until Friday night my love- Chanel

Friday, September 19, 2008

He's Back

Rodney made it home tonight. He will be here until Sunday, when he will fly out to Green Bay and cheer on his beloved Cowboys. I missed him and was anxious for him to come home- but it can be a bit hard to adjust to having him back. I feel like I go through this every time he has been gone for more than 3 days. I really was excited for him to get home, and I think he was excited to get home too, but the illusion of him walking in the door and having a night at home straight from the Donna Reed Show is always quickly shattered. Why is it he can find so much to gripe at everyone about in such a short time. Why do I always feel like my efforts to take care of everything while he is gone are never enough. Why is it so hard for me to just go back to life as normal, and not feel disappointed that it is the same. We have been doing this traveling thing for so many years, a decade in fact, yet it is always the same. Happy to see each other, dog bouncing off the walls because dad is home, kids give a brief hello and then off to play, he finds something I've done wrong, I get offended, he finds something else that is not right, I'm ticked, kids getting gripped at for not doing something right, now I'm really ticked and am counting down the hours until he leaves again while pretending like he isn't around, he feels bad for being a jerk, I'm still too mad to accept an apology, he wont leave me alone, I start to cave in just a little bit and talk to him, he bugs the crap out of me until I eventually end up laughing at him, life is back to normal. Why this same routine every time? You would think we would have it all figured out by now- I guess we don't. At least we love each other and can put up with the drama week after week. I guess it would not be us if it was any different.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Concerned Parent

Last night one of my children came to me upset. He/She wanted to tell me a secret that they had been told by and friend and had promised not to tell anyone. Unfortunately he/she felt like this secret could be a harm to his/her friend, and felt it should be told. The problem was the guilt that he/she was feeling for breaking the promise. We went over the rules of a good and bad secret, and my child decided it was a bad secret and therefore told me. Now this secret (which ended up being several secrets) was not earthshaking, and I did not faint as it was told to me; however, it was disturbing, and I could see a self-destructive pattern forming. As I asked my child what they thought we should do, I was told that they knew that the parents needed to know (which was my exact thought), but that he/she was afraid the friend would find out they told and their friendship would cease. In the end we agreed that I would talk to the parent and explain mine and my child's concerns. My child felt a great sense of relief as he/she went off to bed, while I felt a great knot in my stomach start. How do I approach this child's parents an tell them something that may or may not be a big deal to them (though I felt it would be) and come off as a loving friend who is concerned, and not a tattle-tale busybody. I talked about it with Rodney, and while we both agreed that the parents should be informed and be in a position to decide if it was a big deal to them, we also agreed that it had to be handled with care. I prayed about it last night and on and off all day today. I pondered on when the perfect timing would be and how to phrase my words. Yet as the time approached when I knew I would see this parent, I still did not know what I would say. As soon as I saw her I knew I needed to inform her that we needed to talk privately today. She took it very well and we set a place and time. As the time came I felt so calm and loving towards this child and parent that I was not worried, and hoped that they could feel my love and sincerity. We talked for a bit about the situation, (of the which she was shocked and very displeased about) and about how to keep her child from knowing it was my child who told. I expressed several times that my child and I came to her out of love and concern, and that no one else knew the situation at all. I continually told her that I hoped that she cared for my children and I enough to step in whenever she saw or heard of a problem arising with any of my children, and that she would respect me enough to inform me of situations and let my husband and I be in a position to decide what is acceptable and what is not before something gets out of hand. As we left each other, she told me how grateful she was that my child had told an adult, to reinforce to my child that the right thing was done in breaking this secret, and that she knew we did it out of concern. I was so relieved that it was taken in such a positive manner and that I did not come off as offensive. Offending someone has always one of my BIGGEST fears. I don't ever want anyone to think I think less of them because they may have made a decision different that I would have, or because there have been mistakes made. I NEVER want anyone to think that I think I am perfect (I have lived with myself for 34 years- I realize I am SOOOOO far from perfection- I have to watch myself screw up daily). I never want anyone to think that I think my kids are perfect (I know them pretty well, too. They are great, but they are human. I am here to build them up as the world tries to tear them down, and then toss them a rope and pull them back on the wall every time they fall off- not to fool myself into thinking they are something they are not). I guess I write all of this down because I want myself and my children to remember that sometimes we have to get out of our comfort zone to do what we know in our hearts is right. We have to risk comfort, egos, and even friendships in order to make the right choices that will help others (and ourselves) sometimes. It is not easy confronting a friend as a child. I think it can be even harder as an adult. I am so glad for the peace that I felt as I knelt and prayed about the situation. I knew that I could project myself in the manner that I hoped. I am so glad that my friend's heart was opened to hear what I had to say, and that she understood my concern. I hope that others love me and respect me when that inevitable day comes that I need to be told something about my children. I hope that someone will want to empower me with the knowledge of what is going amiss in their lives. I hope that I will get to be the one that talks through their problems with them as they start, and not the one that finds out about them when it is too late. I want people to love me enough to let me be a parent to my children.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Boring days!

I am amazed at how you can go, go, go and just wish for a break, and then get one and be sooooooo bored. Today was one of those days. I was not working today because I had to pick Declan up an hour early from school. I had a few things to do around the house, a couple loads of laundry, and a couple of errands to run. All of it was done way to soon. I had a couple hours just to try to figure out what I could do. I am so sick of cleaning out cupboards and organizing paperwork. I finally took a long bubble bath and read, which was nice, but then I felt like a bum. I was so excited for 3:00 to roll around so I could pick up Declan and start my nightly taxi service to and from events and practices. Rodney is out of town (and has been for part of every week since July) so the house has just been too quite- except for the LOUD barking of my overprotective dog as anything comes within 100 ft of our home (he spends so much time in time out for barking that he is not very good company). These are the days I wish I had another sweet baby toddling around to distract me- that is until school is out and I remember I do not want to add one more needy soul to my crazy afternoons and nights. I just need to be at work more often. If I don't get called in to work tomorrow I am going to help an elderly lady move out of her house. Either way, I am done being a bump on a log.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What is with the teachers these days?

I'm sorry, but I just have to gripe a little bit about the teachers these days. I rarely have problems with teachers. The only time it really has ever come up in in Middle School and with Declan. Before for 7th grade everyone just loved him to death. There were never enough good things to say about him. Since 7th grade I am not sure anyone knows he exists. It is SO frustrating to me. Last year I started noticing that I would get very little to no response from teachers. I realize that he is a good child, and really is not needy, but I still feel that they should get to know him. After a year of being in the athletics class, playing football, and running cross country, the head coach didn't even know his name or what sporting events he had played in. This year seems to be playing out much the same, and it is very frustrating to me. This year Declan has enrolled in ALL pre-AP or honors classes- every subject. The teachers PILE the work on. They expect a lot from these kids. An assignment that is one day late is a zero, no exceptions. It is a lot of pressure to have one advanced class, let alone a full schedule (he made the choice to do it though, so I have to let him try). I went to the meet the teacher for parents at his school the other day and I was shocked to find out that his math teacher didn't know who he was (come on- it has been 3 full weeks of school already). After staring a me with a blank look on her face for a minute she said, "Oh, is he the blond kid in the back?" How would I know? I don't go to school with him. Then she continued to tell me, "Well, I guess if he got on my nerves I would know who he was." Like that is supposed to make me feel better. She also said, "Yeah, I think he didn't do so hot on his test today." I'm thinking "Have you figured out who he is then?" Guess not, he made a 100%. Ugh!!!!! I did not get much of a better response from his other teachers, although they knew who he was; except for his history teacher. He asked about Declan's schedule, was impressed that he had decided to take such a heavy load, and offered his help at any time since he was such a driven student. (It always feels great to have someone, especially a teacher, validate your child's hard work.) Well tonight proved to be another disappointment for Declan and I both. Declan had his first football game and was in the game for one whole play (the kick off after 1/2 time) which lasted about 7 seconds. That was it. I understand that Declan is not the greatest football player, his first year was last year and some of these kids have been playing since they were 4. He is 2nd string B team, and happy as he can be about it. Somehow he just gets over looked. Throughout the whole game they forgot to put Declan in as they gave other 2nd string kids the chance to sub here and there. He would have been happy with one turn as a lineman. What is ridiculous is that instead of trying to teach all of the kids how to play, they choose about 15 kids they want to work with and have them play all of the offensive and defensive positions (like one kid who literally only came out for 1 play the whole game). The other kids look on and do not get a chance to try. In practice they do drills for 1/2 of the practice, and then the rest of the practice the 2nd strings watch the first string A and B teams play each other- never do they get to play. I understand wanting to win and working with those who already have the game down. I guess what frustrates me is that Declan does so much juggling to attend EVERY practice. I know he is learning. He never goofs off on the sidelines, he is always right next to the coach watching and cheering for his team mates. He stays up extra late to do his homework so that he can be at practices and games. He is trying to be a well rounded athlete. Yet when the 1st string player gets benched because of his grades, and they tell Declan in practice that he will be the starter in the game, they change their mind at the last minute and pull someone down from A team. Not only that, but they don't let him play at all. It just crushes a kids self-esteem and makes him feel invisible. Declan is very intimidated by his coaches. He didn't even think they knew his name until recently. When I was a kid my teachers were authority figures as well as friends. I was comfortable talking to them, and I felt like they cared for me, not just my test scores. When did a teacher become someone that just sees a child as a score on a state assessment exam, or a win for their ego, and not as a developing human mind & body, with emotions?

Monday, September 15, 2008


Today is Lanessa's birthday. I have decided that I want to take some time to write my thoughts about, and feelings for that person on their birthday. I want my children to know how I felt about people. (Remember this is my journal, you are not allowed to be offended when I write about you!)

Lanessa is one of the most genuinely sweet people I know. I worry about her because she is so naturally sweet (I mean, if she were a food item she would be pure cane juice straight from the sugar cane). Why would I worry about her for being sweet? Because I feel like she wants everyone to be so happy. It affects her so much when someone is unhappy. I feel like she wears a heavy load on her back trying to keep a smile on everyone's face. I hope that she takes the time to do things for herself that make her truly happy. I hope that she realizes that her sweet presence makes difficult things more pleasant. I hope that she realizes that she doesn't have to fix problems, but that problems seem more manageable because she genuinely cares. I also hope that she realizes that you can not make everyone happy all of the time, and that is OK.
I wish I had a closer relationship with Lanessa. It is so sad to say that. We are both so busy in our lives that time just flies by. I joined her family when she was just a teenager. I was fortunate enough to have her live with me for a year while she was in college, and I truly enjoyed getting to know her better and watching her become more independent. I LOVE her children and think she has an incredible family. I am very impressed with how incredibly she has done in nursing school while raising a family. I hope she realizes she is an example to me, and that I am in awe of her. I hope that she knows how much I love her. She will never know how many times I have watched her interacting with others, and have seen how her gentle compassion has affected them. I have wished many times that I could display a fraction of the love, compassion, and patience that she exudes in one small gesture. Can you even imagine having a nurse like her? Now can you imagine having a husband/wife, mother, daughter, sister, or friend like her. I am truly blessed, and I will work harder this year to #1: become more like her, and #2 spend more quality time with her so that she will know how much I care for her. Happy Birthday Lanessa- I am thinking of you today!

Life's NOT Fair

Yesterday Rodney and I had to have the good old "Life's Not Fair" speech with Decota. This is a particularly hard speech for me to give her because she has had to deal with so much more than I ever had to as a child. However, the weekends seem to be progressively getting worse in terms of her attitude. She HATES to have her shot on Friday night, yet up until school started she was being so good about just getting it over with. I don't know if all of the nerves from starting school again and getting to know her teachers and the schedule is to blame, but for some reason she is putting up more of a stink on Friday night. Don't get me wrong, she is not vomiting uncontrollably and balling up in a corner anymore, I think we have passed that stage. She is just being a little more feisty about having to have her shot. In order to help her look forward to something after it, Rodney and I have tried to have sleepovers or some fun activity with friends that night or the next day. Yet every week the attitude seems to get worse. She takes out her anger on anyone who is around by being mean, snotty, or belittling them- and that is not the typical Decota. Rodney and I have had to talk with her every weekend about her attitude. By Sunday we were done being nice. Cambria and Decota had headed over to their friends house to see if they wanted to go on a bike ride with them. Soon they both came home upset, Cambria with skin scratched off her arm and Decota with a fat lip. They actually started duking it out at the neighbors! As we talked to the girls Cambria became remorseful and Decota became more hateful. I could see the anger building up inside her and I knew that she felt like a dark hand was squeezing her insides, I have felt it myself. When we finally got her to talk about her feelings she bawled about how unfair life was, how mad she was that she had to be different, and how nobody understands what she is going through. This, of course, breaks a mothers heart. Who wants their child to be in pain, to feel different, or to feel alone. She acts out towards me more than anyone else because I am the one that makes sure she has all of her meds every day. I am the one that gives her her shot. She wants me to feel as bad as she does- I totally understand. I also know that she knows I am the one that is fighting so hard to get her better. I will not let her give up and suffer with a worse quality of life. I am the one that cleans up her puke every week and then makes her whatever she wants to fill up her stomach. I know that she realizes this, and is still mad- I totally understand. I wish I could make it all better, but I can't- and once again tough love proved the way to go. Siting around feeling sorry for yourself does not help anything. Decota is not a whiner- she is a fighter. Sometime we all need little reminders of who we are. As Rodney and I dove head first into the speech, we reminded her of all that she has to be grateful for. We reminded her of people that have had it worse. We reminded her of how attitude makes all of the difference, and examples of people that have made a difference because of their attitude. We reminded her of situations that were much worse than hers. In the end she walked out of the room with a changed attitude and a grateful heart (thanks so much to Rodney, he has a talent for saying the right things).

Today when Decota came home from school she immediately wanted to talk. She told me about a boy that I have worked with that is labeled "emotionally disturbed". Decota has him in one of her classes this year, and he can be quite a handful at times- but he is such a neat child when you get to know him. Today in class he was pulled out of class, and when he returned he had a smile on his face and a black trash bag. Some of the kids kept asking him what he had, and he kept telling them nothing. Decota said it got to be very annoying and that she finally told the kids to mind their own business. When the kids still would not stop pestering him he got very frustrated and blew up. He started yelling and pulling the items from his bag, which happened to be full of clothes. "The bag is full of clothes. Why? Because I am too poor to be able to afford anything. My dad was a drug addict and OD'd on crack and died and left my mom with all of the kids and bills and no money. We can't afford food, let alone clothes. Can't you tell by the way my clothes are way to small and full of holes. Don't you see that my shoes have holes in the bottom of the soles. The teachers are trying to get me clothes that fit so I can look like everyone else!" Decota said that all of the students got real quiet and the teacher had to come calm him down. She was very teary eyed as she told me, "He is a neat person, mom. He is a smart kid when he wants to be. His life is not fair. Mine is not so bad." What a lesson!

Sunday, September 14, 2008


I know that I should have a good attitude about scouting, but there are just some things I have a hard time getting into. Scouting is one of them. I do not know why exactly. Declan loves everything about it. Maybe it is because of my lack of understanding of the program (although that is a cop-out because they provide you with all of the materials to learn about it). Maybe it is resentment for the fact that I can not get Rodney to even lift a finger when it comes to scouting and I feel like it is a "male thing" (although they always say that an Eagle scout owes it all to the hard work of his mother). Maybe I am just burned out on scouting because of all of the work I did with Declan to make up for a lot of missing things at the end of Cub scouts so he could get all of his awards and advancements there ( six months of working on Cub scouts 30 mins. a day, 5 days a week). Maybe it is because an error occurred and all of Declan's records were lost on what he had done up to this point, and because I was not keeping track in his book we were LOST as to what to do next. Maybe I just got my hopes up when his former leader told me that parents were not allowed to help the boys anymore, and that the church would take care of it, only to have my hopes dashed a year later when I was told that I needed to stay VERY on top of everything. Whatever the reason, it has been something that I dread. Well I have no more excuses. Declan loves scouts. You should see his eyes illuminate as he goes to an Eagle ceremony. He hangs on every speakers words, and always comments on how he can't wait to be an Eagle one day. His leaders have fixed the lost records and Declan will be promoted three ranks this month. I have been provided a complete list of all that he has done, and all that he needs to do in order to advance again, as well as where he stands on his Duty To God. It is time to buckle down. I have had some time off to think about how much I don't want to do scouting, but in actuality I am grateful for scouting and all it teaches Declan. I say that I don't know much about scouting, but I do know about the relationships that my brothers formed with their scout leaders, and I know of the great memories that they have because of scouting, and I know that I want nothing less for my son- really, that is all I need to know about scouting. I know that Declan wants to emulate his uncles in every way, and who could ever complain about that. So why am I dreading and whining about something that is so amazing for my son? OK- attitude changed- I love scouting! I am off to find another great merit badge to concur! Wish me luck!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Lazy Days

Today is one of those great lazy days where you feel like you should be doing something, but you don't. I cleaned the house yesterday, did all of the grocery shopping, and fed everyone lunch, so I think I'll just veg for a while. I sat down to watch a show with Decota and Cambria and the whole time I kept thinking- I should bake cookies, I should make bread, I should start the soup for dinner- yet I stayed sitting there and just continued to watch the show. So what if I am a bum. Everyone deserves a day like that every once in a while. This week totally kicked all of our butts. Declan had football and/or soccer every night this week plus scouts, Decota had 2 nights of dance and a meet the teacher for parents at school, Cambria had 2 nights of soccer, and I worked a couple days. It was an easier week than normal because there were no Dr visits, no Activity Days, and Rodney was in town from Tuesday on- so we shouldn't have felt so beat, yet we did. Declan had an 8:00 game this morning, so all of the kids were in bed and asleep at 9:30 last night with no objections (that should tell you how tired they were). Poor Declan has had hours of homework every night (5 hours one night) and he usually doesn't get home from activities until at least 8:00. You would think that the teachers would be a bit more understanding, but I guess that is what you get when you load your schedule with ALL pre-AP and honors classes. We made it through the crazy week though, and are so glad that our pm soccer game was canceled because of the weather that was supposed to hit us due to Hurricane Ike (we have seen a bit of rain and winds, but nothing like a good ol' Texas thunderstorm). I know that Ike has been a devastation to so many people, but for us it has been like rehab. It has provided us with an excuse to stay indoors and be lazy. Thanks Ike for my lazy weekend!

Friday, September 12, 2008

I'm a PIG

On our anniversary Rodney took me out to lunch. Of course I was craving Mexican (I think I could eat chips and salsa for every meal and snack everyday). We decided to try a new restaurant, so we stopped into one by 121 called Abuelo's. From the interstate it doesn't really pop out at you, so I was a little worried that we might be spoiling our anniversary by going to some dive of a chain, but I was feeling adventurous so we went. As we drove up we realized that it was a nice building with great landscaping- the only problem was that it was located at the very end of a strip mall next to a vacant restaurant. When we walked inside I was so excited, they had a big fountain in the middle and painted skies on the ceiling- it reminded me of Si Senor back in New Mexico. As we sat down I told Rodney that I knew I liked the place already. The chips and salsa were GREAT, and then the kicker- the menu had a burrito for $5.99 that could be covered in any sauce- AND THEY HAD GREEN CHILI!!!!!! Oh beautiful, wonderful, succulent green chili. How have I lived so close to you for 3 years and never know you were within my reach! I was bouncing in my seat as I waited for them to bring me my burrito. And then it came- the mother of all burritos- Huge and beautiful! The waiters laughed when they saw my face as I looked at the sheer size of the thing. They told me they had only seen one person eat the whole thing. I was so ecstatic that I would have left overs to savor that night, and probably the next day. Rodney put his next to mine (he ordered a different, more expensive burrito) and asked why he got the baby one. He tried a couple bites of mine and we both decided it tastes like Taco Box (another of my New Mexico favorites). I was so busy enjoying the lunch, company, and conversation that when I looked down and discovered that I only had about three bites left I was stunned. HOW DID I EAT THAT WHOLE THING! Plus I had two baskets of chips and salsa, a side of beans, flan, and three Diet Cokes. The check said 1 lb Burrito- $5.99, so when I got home I had to weigh myself. To my dismay I found that I weighed 2 lbs more than I did that morning! No worries though- today I am a pound less than I started that day! Boy- I can not get in a habit of eating there though!! And of course the rest of the day was QUITE A GAS!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

14 Years!!

Here I am, commemorating 14 years of marriage by starting a blog- what a dork. My fear is that because I do not keep a journal, my kids and I will forget about how life really is. Here is my attempt at saving a bit of that legacy for them (and me).

I can not believe it has been 14 years since the day my mom and I got our hair done real big (thus tempting Rodney into make the first mother-in-law with big hair comment, which made my mom run off in tears), took tons of pictures in my front yard, and ultimately said "I do" as our families looked on. Time sure flies when you are having fun! (That's why, right? Not because we run 18 hours a day at top speed!)

I knew pretty soon after I met Rodney that he would be the great love of my life. It took my parents quite a while to see it (is anyone ever really good enough for your child?), but when they did- it was undeniable. My children and I were discussing the other night how strange it is that you can date so many people and get sick of them so fast, and then you just end up finding the one you never leave. I wondered aloud how you come to that conclusion. Rodney piped in from the background "Easy, you fall in love, real love, and you just know that you are done looking." I often think about this, and it still amazes me that he fell in love with me, and then he was done. I know I do not deserve him. I often wonder if someone else out there could have been so much better for him, and if he sold himself short when he picked me. In the end I am just so thankful that he did. I could never have imagined how wonderful it feels to know that your true love loves you just as much as you love him. The security in knowing that you have found a best friend who will stick by your side and kiss you good night even when he sees you are at your physical, spiritual, or emotional worst is indescribable. On days when I don't love myself I think he loves me even more to make up for the difference. What a blessing!

Rodney- I love you. Thank you for the last 14 years. You have given me so much and have always provided for all of my needs. I have been spoiled and loved. I have been protected and encouraged to spread my wings. I have learned about sorrow and joy. I have learned about patience, both for you and for myself. Most importantly, you have made me a wife and a mother- my most prized gifts. I love you to infinity and beyond!!!!!